Tallinn City Council on Thursday approved Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart's proposed changes to the city government. The number of deputy mayors will be reduced from seven to six, and lineup thereof is changing as well, as Tõnis Mölder (Cente), who was elected to the Riigikogu, will be replaced as deputy mayor by Betina Beškina (Centre), and Estonian Greens chairwoman Züleyxa Izmailova has resigned as deputy mayor.
"My aim is to find balance between reform and stability in leading the City of Tallinn," Mr Kõlvart said. "I brought before the city council a team that has both experience as well as new blood."
Ms Beškina, a new member of the city government who previously worked as media director at the Tallinn City Office, will be responsible for the field of social affairs. "Betina Beškina has been working for the City of Tallinn for seven years, and stood out with her education, strong learning skills and hardworking nature," Mr Kõlvart commented regarding the capital city's newest deputy mayor.
"One of the principles was to continue with a slightly smaller city government composition, and the Greens' decision to step down from the city government presented this opportunity," the mayor continued. "I thank Deputy Mayor Züleyxa Izmailova for her contributions thus far, especially in introducing the solar panel project and launching the organic food initiative."
Mr Kõlvart reaffirmed that the issues agreed upon with the Estonian Greens in the coalition agreement would still be realised.
Izmailova to focus on party
The Centre Party and the Estonian Greens on Thursday announced that Ms Izmailova had decided to step down from her position as deputy mayor of Tallinn in order to focus on her duties as chairwoman of the Greens and increasing party membership.
"At the initiative of the Greens, a lot has been accomplished in a short period of time," the outgoing deputy mayor highlighted. "€3 million in investments for the establishment of solar parks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Tallinn's accession to the network of pesticide-free cities to ensure a cleaner and safer environment, and the forward-thinking decision to give up single-use plastic tableware at public events are but a few of the very important decisions with a broad positive impact that we managed to accomplish within a year and a half."
Ms Izmailova became deputy mayor of Tallinn under the coalition agreement concluded between Centre and the Greens in 2017.
The new city government will also see a slight redistribution in areas of responsibility. Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu (Centre) will remain in charge of entrepreneurship, but his responsibilities will also expand to include the waste field, which was previously the responsibility of Ms Izmailova.
Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf (Centre), meanwhile, will remain in charge of utilities, but will also take on responsibility for the environmental field. Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov (Centre), currently responsible for urban planning, will also take over responsibility for city transport. Deputy Mayor Eha Võrk (Centre) will remain in charge of city assets, while Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev (Centre) will remain responsible for the fields of education, youth work, culture, sport and integration.
The Tallinn Environmental Board and the Tallinn City Utilities Department will also be merged together.
Editor: Aili Vahtla