Municipalities Nowadays, it is a shame to be the mayor of municipalities – says Kari Nenonen, who was awarded the title of director of Vantaa

Kari Nenonen is concerned about how little the profession of municipal director is of interest to applicants.

If there are very few applicants for the job, the job is obviously not very attractive. This has happened to the previously highly respected profession of mayor.

In smaller municipalities, applicants have had to land for a long time.

Former mayor of Vantaa Kari Nenonen points out that even in large cities, there has been no recent intrusion into managerial positions.

“There are always fewer applicants,” says Nenonen, admitting he is concerned about the downturn.

According to Nenonen, one of the reasons is the change in political culture. As an example, he uses the meetings of his former workplace, the Oulu City Council, where the matter-of-fact and respectful discussion of the past years has turned into a person’s torment.

Today on Wednesday, Nenonen will be awarded the Municipal Director of the Decade. The award, which is presented every ten years, is new, and the selection has been made by the Municipal Sector Development Foundation and the Finnish Association of Municipal Directors.

Nenonen appreciates the attention especially because the voters were former colleagues, ie mayors, who are familiar with the complexity of the work.

Nenonen led Oulu for seven years and Finland’s fourth largest city, Vantaa, for six years. In the meantime, he had time to work as the Executive Vice President of the Association of Finnish Municipalities and to lead the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District.

Nenonen retired from Vantaa three years ago.

Nenonen’s special role in changing the course and renewing the culture of Vantaa is highlighted in the explanations of the Decade of the Municipal Leader award.

“Nenonen got the board crossing party boundaries to commit to measures and the change was made together. As an inspiring and open-minded leader, Nenonen encouraged the industries to lead the way and implement new ways of working, ”the explanatory statement praises.

Nenonen also turned Vantaa’s reputation for the better with the help of the city’s own internal audit. Nenonen also made two requests to the police for an investigation into the city’s own companies, which in practice meant that well-known local politicians were subjected to police interrogations.

In the case of Myyrmäki Sports Park, the former CEO was sentenced to parole in the Helsinki Court of Appeal for a serious accounting offense. Three people in charge of Vantaa Ring Roads were fined for abusing their position of trust.

The decision to open all the city’s bills to the public also included confidence-building measures.

“The role of internal audit in the screening of urban activities is central. It’s worth making sure it’s adequately resourced and backed by management. ”

Municipal field prepares for a historic big change when the sote reform prepared by the country’s government is nearing completion. The state is taking responsibility for the largest item of expenditure by municipalities, ie social and health expenditure.

For many Finnish municipalities, the reform will bring enormous relief, as the rapid growth of SOTE spending has weighed on the economies of small municipalities as a millstone. In the metropolitan area, the situation is different.

Nenonen was a liquidator in a separate solution in Uusimaa, which divides the province into four large parts. The solution makes Helsinki its own separate welfare area.

“Helsinki is an exception to Finnish municipalities because it is the only truly prosperous municipality. Its economy is the last to collapse in this country. ”

Ison one consequence of the administrative and economic change is that the tasks of the municipalities are beginning to diverge.

While elsewhere in Finland the provinces take responsibility for organizing the war, the division of Uusimaa divides the province. Helsinki will remain the only municipality to organize its own social services.

“For the first time in Finnish history, the tasks of municipalities are beginning to separate. Uusimaa’s separate solution is the beginning of this development, ”says Nenonen.

The experiences of different cities with the new management model do not inspire Neno either. From the mayoral model, the city leadership changes based on the power relations of the municipal elections.

In Nenonen’s opinion, continuity is needed in big cities, not a politician who is already eyeing the preconceptions of the next municipal election.

“In the mayor’s model, there is a discontinuity every four years,” says Nenonen.

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