Mayor of Nõmme enjoys fun in the sun at taxpayers’ money

14.05.2012, 09:57

Erki Korp, head of Nõmme city district government in Tallinn, turned his one-week religious seminar in Florida into a 16-day holiday trip that will cost the taxpayer more than a thousand euros.

Korp was visiting Destin, Florida to participate in Grace Lutheran Church’s “Developing Healthy Communities” seminar.

A connection between Nõmme and Destin was bridged about 12 years ago through the Nõmme Rahu Congregation.

Although the seminar in the town that has 12,000 residents was held from May 2 to 8, Korp left Tallinn on April 29 and will be returning today, May 14.

In addition to his air tickets of 652 euros, Korp will be collecting per diems for all 16 days, making the total cost of the trip at 1,164 euros.

“This trip gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about how your city works, and how we could try and do things in Nõmme,” Korp said in an interview to a local newspaper.

Looking back, Korp said that he had many fond memories of his time in Destin and can’t wait to get back home to share what he has learned with his peers.

“Destin is very nice,” said Korp. “Our sand is more yellow… not as soft.”

“Now we have possibility and freedoms to think about and share ideas,” Korp said. “In Soviet time, it was difficult to travel and it was a very closed society under communist rule.”

“Our city government meetings are very different, they are not open to the public,” he said. “It’s unbelievable to see how you start your meetings by recognizing people… in our meetings, we are usually shouting.”

“If I were to do that, they would look at me like I am stupid or crazy,” Korp said, pointing to how the city council opens each meeting with an invocation.
With 39,000 residents in his district, Korp said he and his team are responsible for almost every aspect of life in Nõmme, whether it’s elderly care, social care, education, infrastructure or construction.

Prior to being appointed as mayor, Korp spent more than a decade running the District for Tallinn Center for Children at Risk.