Kirchlauter returns to honorary office for mayor

Kirchlauter returns to honorary office for mayor

From 1. May 2020 the municipality of kirchlauter will again be led by an honorary mayor. With a narrow 7-6 vote, the council created the conditions for the end of the 24-year term of a full-time mayor in the community, which is relatively small with 1317 inhabitants.

The municipal code in the state of bavaria stipulates that in municipalities with up to 5,000 inhabitants, the first mayor is an honorary civil servant unless the municipal council has been elected at the latest on the 90th day of his or her term of office. The first day before a mayoral election, the bylaws stipulate that the first mayor is to be a temporary civil servant – and thus a full-time mayor. The latter is currently the case in kirchlauter. Peter kirchner had been elected honorary mayor in 1981, but from 1996 he was a full-time mayor, and this subsequently also applied to the other mayors jochen steppert (2008 to 2014) and karl-heinz kandler (since 2014 to 2020).

Mayor karl-heinz kandler (SPD) began by explaining that a change in the legal status of the first mayor is only ever possible at the start of a new term of office. Financially, the main difference between the compensation of an honorary civil servant and the salary of a professional mayor is the civil servant’s pension.

At present, about 26,000 euros have been paid to the pension fund for the incumbent mayor. According to kandler, payments are due not only for active service, but also for the duration of a pension payment, including for spouses and children. According to kandler, the 2019 budget contains a total of 41,000 euros for pension costs.

"This decision has always been discussed at length and it is an emotional issue", second mayor reinhold stohr (SPD) emphasized at the beginning of the numerous speeches. "But we want that the honorary office gets a reasonable payment and want to approach the upper limit here."

Local councillor horst gehring (CSU) said that merit had something to do with service and earnings. It is nonsense to make this office honorary or part-time. The difference in payment is also small. It was already an issue in the last election campaign and it was predicted that the municipality would fall into financial calamity. But none of this has happened. "The full-time advantage is that the mayor is always there for the community. No one can serve two masters." The question arises as to whom one will still get as mayor in an honorary office. "We want to have a mayor who also represents the value of the community."

Councillor uwe derra () said that a volunteer could not perform the required tasks. "A full-time employee is needed." In the future, it will be difficult to find a professional mayor who also has the skills and can be present in the morning for meetings and discussions.

Councillor martin luckardt (SPD) pointed out that the municipal code provides for honorary office in the case of such grossness of the municipality. This had also been a topic in the last election campaign and even then some had not understood that one continued in office as a full-time job. One is in favor of a full-time honorary position with the corresponding payment.

Councillor ellen lix (SPD) admitted that for an active mayor the differences between the two forms were not so great, but the consequential costs in retirement were. "We also want the honorary mayor to work full time." Otherwise, there is a risk for a full-time mayor if he is not re-elected after several years.

"We have to see what is best for our community. In addition, we have financial advantages in grants, if a mayor was on site", eva maria schmitt (JL), a member of the municipal council, pointed out, and martin luckardt interjected: "grants are not awarded on the basis of full-time employment."

Councillor robert muckelbauer (CSU) asked why this discussion was being conducted in such an emotional way. "Because we have an envy debate in germany?", he asked. Moreover, in the case of honorary office, it could not be decided that the mayor would not have a job in the future. This decision must also not become a plaything from period to period. "We need planning security for our mayors, and money is not the decisive factor. All citizens benefit from full-time work, and otherwise we block the way to getting a good mayor for the office." The annual additional expenditure of 25,000 euros is not the decisive factor. The municipality is practically debt-free and a full-time mayor can obtain more grants and implement projects more quickly. Moreover, it is about the management of a budget of 3.7 million euros and also about the organization of the employees of the building yard. The mayor of kirchlautern should again be the chairman of the water association.

Mayor karl-heinz kandler said that it was not possible to dictate to the 15 administrative councils of the association who they should elect as chairman. He pointed out that the compensation for an honorary mayor ranged from 3015 to 4526 euros, whereas he now earns 5209 euros as a full-time mayor.

Chief executive matthias klauda of the ebelsbach administrative community (VG) confirmed the above-mentioned framework rate for honorary mayors and emphasized that the exact rate is set by the municipal council and that the mayor has to agree to it. If not, the legal supervisor will decide.

In the vote, it came to the narrow decision of 7:6 votes for a future honorary first mayor, whereby the SPD and CSU councils were opposed. Robert muckelbauer spoke after the decision "of a very black day for the community, and we will only know the result in a few years". Uwe derra agreed with the statement: "we can no longer support the burgers in the same way as we have done for the last 36 years."

The current mayor karl-heinz kandler concluded the point with his statement: "i will run for office again in the future election and would have done the same if it had been decided full-time."

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