Though in eyes of law all local governmental leaders share the same tasks, councils price their jobs very differently. Not always is this linked to wealth of the region or size of population. Estonia's highest mayoral salary is thrice the lowest. With parish elders, the difference is six-fold.
According to fresh financial ministry data, top of the list wages are in Tallinn – among the few city governments in Estonia who could afford wage rise last year.
The highest salary jump game to the now suspended Mayor Edgar Savisaar. If he were working, he would be paid €5,200 this year.
Salary dictated by private sector
Tallinn city secretary Toomas Sepp said that wage rises among top officials came by council deciding last summer to abolish car compensation and add that to the salary. That spelled an additional €580.
Meanwhile, Tallinn is getting way ahead of other local governments. As an example of that, Tallinn PR head Ain Saarna is paid more not than mayor Urmas Klaas of Estonia’s second largest city Tartu.
To explain the phenomenon, Mr Sepp cited the labour market pressure by private sector. For instance, Tallinn has in vain sought for an information security head and will probably have to raise wage offer.
While majority of other local governments went without a raise, some stand out. Mayor of Tõrva Maido Ruusmann made it to Mayors Top Ten with salary boosted by €420 to €2,408 in a town of 2,700 people.
Statistics say the average Tõrva gross salary stands at €866.
Estonian Local Governments Union (EMOL) head Ott Kasuri said there are no rules regarding the salaries, as councils go by traditions and specific work load as in smaller places the leaders have no deputies.
According to wages analyst Ilmar Põhjala at Fontes, a consultancy, local leaders are not overpaid in Estonia to the overall backdrop. A problem, however, as compared to private sector is lack of efficiency. A possible place for austerity would be combining tasks across parish borders, he suggests.