Municipalities “This has been like a nightmare” – Ex-Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen’s covered mayor was fired before he had time to work:

The dismissed mayor of Ruokolahti, Anu Sepponen, is considering appealing against the decision.

I need it There has been a special dispute in Ruokolahti, South Karelia, with a population of 5,000, for more than a year.

Last week, the latest turn in the dispute took place, when the Ruokolahti municipal council dismissed the mayor he had elected more than a year ago. Anu Sepposen. He did not have time to work in his job for a day.

At the heart of the dispute is a management agreement on which the municipality and Sepponen have not been able to reach an agreement.

Proceedings began in August 2020, when the Ruokolahti Municipal Council voted Sepponen’s mayor roughly 14–13.

The second long-serving MP and former minister from the reeds, who was considered a pre-favorite, were second in the center. Kimmo Tiilikainen.

Kimmo Tiilikainen.

Seppoen had been the mayor of Rautalammi in Northern Savonia since 2017. The mayor living in Imatra sought to work closer to his home region and his elderly parents.

The Ruokolahti municipal government decided that Sepponen would be offered a similar contract to his predecessor: a salary of EUR 7,000 and nine months’ severance pay.

Sepponen’s compromised salary request was EUR 7,300.

Leadership agreement was taken to the municipal council. A surprising turnaround took place at the council meeting at the end of September.

The council reduced the mayor’s salary from EUR 7,000 to EUR 6,500. The severance pay was removed and a six-month probationary period was added to the contract.

The changes were made on the basis of initiatives by the Social Democrats and the Center and were put to the vote. The members of the central government and the sdp voted against their own proposal in the council.

The municipality stated that Sepponen had to say by the deadline whether he would take office. Sepponen, for his part, stated that he could not take a position on the matter because the director’s contract had not been negotiated.

In October 2020, the council decided that the election of the mayor had lapsed.

Sepponen appealed against the decision to the Eastern Finland Administrative Court.

In June 2021 the administrative court decidedthat the decision to lapse must be annulled unlawfully. According to the Administrative Court, the municipality cannot prescribe a probationary period afterwards, but it has the right to decide on remuneration and severance pay.

After the summer municipal elections, the institutions of Ruokolahti were reorganized, but the dispute between the municipality and the mayor continued.

The municipality sent an administrative order to Sepponse: the position should start on October 1.

Sepponen He felt that due to the ambiguities related to the management contract, he could not resign from his job at Rautalammi and accept a new job in Ruokolahti.

He suggested that the contract be negotiated before starting work and demanded similar contract terms to those of his predecessor. According to Sepponen, there were other strangeness and ambiguities in the agreement.

In September, the Ruokolahti municipal government decided that the director’s agreement approved by the council would not be reopened until the mayor had taken up his duties.

When Sepponen did not arrive in Ruokolahti on October 1 to work, according to his announcement, things started happening in the municipality. The municipal government proposed to the council the termination of Sepponen’s employment. On November 2, the council approved the termination.

“This was an expected decision because it has been seen that they are going like a locomotive towards their own goal,” Anu Sepponen tells HS.

Sepponen feels that the municipality’s goal has been to get rid of him. He is considering appealing the dismissal decision.

“I think the decision was unjustifiably made. The procedure has been unscrupulous. ”

“Probably no party wanted that.”

“Here there has been a clear stalemate, ”says the chairman of the Ruokolahti municipal council Timo Kärki (kok). According to him, the municipality had to take action to move the matter forward.

According to Kärje, mistakes were made in the municipality’s decision-making in the autumn of 2020 and they were not corrected. Kärki was a member of the council and municipal board at the time. He was in favor of Sepponen’s choice.

Kärki says that he still believed in the summer after the decision of the administrative court that Sepponen would be appointed mayor of Ruokolahti. According to Kärje, the situation stalled in the “second round” because Sepponen wanted a managerial contract before taking office, but the municipality did not want to do so in advance.

“This has been a controversy. He has not received that managerial contract before he should have taken up the post. And according to the decision of the administrative court, it does not have to be in advance, ”says Kärki.

“This is an extremely sad process. This is probably not what any party wanted. But we cannot be in an ambiguous situation for years. The story must have been put to an end. ”

Now the municipality is waiting to see if there will be appeals against the decision. Currently, the duties of the mayor are performed by the administrative director of Ruokolahti.

“I could never have imagined myself in such a situation,” says Anu Sepponen.

Anu Sepponen will continue as Rautalammi’s mayor for the time being. The past year has been heavy and difficult.

“This has been a terrible year, like my nightmare. I could never have imagined myself in such a situation. Many have come to tell me that they would not have survived such a year. ”

Sepponen says that during the year he received dirt on his neck but also support and encouragement – also from Ruokolahti. For example, after his dismissal last week, he received a bouquet of roses from Ruokolahti, wishing him “cheer and joy for the day.”

“I am really sorry for the ordinary people of Reed Bay as well. This is completely unreasonable. ”

Sepponen still says that he thinks it’s just that.

“Even after all the negative, I think the matter would be reconcilable and the post possible. It would certainly be challenging at first, but not so that it wouldn’t be good yet. It just requires the right state of mind. ”

Read more: Municipalities are increasingly reluctant to pay severance pay to leaders – “Is there a need for a golden handshake?” asks Professor Emeritus of Labor Law

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