Pirkanmaa County Council Elections 2022
I am Olli Ruotsalainen, a 40 years old embedded systems software engineer and running for a seat at the new Pirkanmaa county council. In addition to a long career in the industry working both in software development and testing as well as various management and leadership positions, I have also pursued further studies in economic and social sciences and in addition to my engineering masters’ have also achieved a B.Sc. in both economics and software science. Thus I have many viewpoints on the issues that our new administration faces, and am used to out of the box and lateral thinking when finding solutions.
Before going into the details of my platform, here is what I think about he major policy issues of the new counties:
- I am against giving taxation rights to the new counties. This would increase the costs of tax collection and make the tax system more complex. If the counties need more funds, the existing taxation system should be used instead.
- I am for using both public and private sectors for providing services. The private sector has important roles also in pushing the public side to better results and exploring new service production ideas, which the public sector actors might be hesitant to try out.
- I hold service quality more important than existing municipal boundaries. Some services benefit more from local production than others, such services should be the only ones that are locally produced. For other services, centralisation brings benefits both in costs and quality.
My main theme is to initially concentrate on the efficient working of the new administrative level itself and ensuring that it serves the needs of the county and especially personnel facing this huge change in their working conditions. When a new administrative layer is added, there are always the obvious risks of added bureaucracy and positions that do not provide measurable benefits towards the goals of the organisation. Any and all new positions and functions must have a clear positive effect on the services provided by the new county. The council must keep the rest of the organisation on a tight leash at least initially to ensure a start in the right direction and that efficiency and cost management are considered from the first day. Compared to the needs of an ageing population, the funding available for the county is going to decrease in the future. This mindset needs to be part of the core functioning of the new county administration. While I do endorse a strict cost control policy, there are also exceptions. Currently the mental health service situation is in need of additional resources for handling the current, temporary crisis.
IT services and systems is the area where the new county level provides the most obvious opportunities for achieving greater efficiencies, by reducing the time taken in for both paperwork and data transfer between different service providers. Large systems projects however also present a grave risk of expending millions of taxpayer money for no benefit, in some cases even disrupting existing working practises and reducing the time personnel have available for doing their primary healthcare work. While there is no dearth of examples off successful large IT projects in general, the Finnish health authorities sadly do have an abysmal track record in this field. Thus to increase the likelihood of successful IT projects, the council should also have experts of the area and my wide and extensive knowledge of the matter would be very useful in this regard.
To reach the potential benefits made possible by the new county organisation, a new level and way of cooperation is necessary, not only with the municipalities but also between political parties and other actors. The needs of the county and also resources and production facilities must to be considered as a whole, to find the mix that provides the best possible services with the available assets. We need to get away from a zero sum game mindset. For this reason it is important to foster a leadership style that endorses compromises and also helps build an atmosphere of trust between all participants. To reach the best possible outcome, inputs are needed from all the actors and political ideologies.
Most parties have themes that are important to me, thus it was difficult to make a choice on which one to run with. On labour and economic matters I usually favour policies that are traditionally considered more rightist and which endorse freedom, while on social issues and public services I tend to lean on solutions from the leftist side. PS as a party enables me to endorse both views. They as a party have also performed effectively in their current role in the opposition at the national level, which indicates that they get things done and thus are a good platform for influencing the issues that I hold important.
If you find these themes interesting it would be great to receive your vote in the election. I am also available for discussing these issues, the election or society in general. I think that it is an important job of local politicians to have these kinds of discussions with residents. I also gladly take any support for my campaign efforts, both moral and financial.
Election date: 23.1.2022
Advance voting: 12.1. – 18.1.2022
More election information