After Leonberg’s mayor Josefa Schmid reported against her boss, mayor Martin Georg Cohn, there was a big uproar in the city. Cohn defends himself, but how things can continue is completely unclear.
The thunderstorm that is currently bearing down on Leonberg’s town hall is creating quite a bit of talk in the city. And that concerns the municipal councils, who actually have enough other matters to deal with in the current turbulent times. And it will probably take some time before the background is clarified. The facts are so far: Leonberg’s first mayor has sent a letter to district chairman Susanne Bay (De Grønne) and to the public prosecutor’s office. In it, Josefa Schmid (FDP) raises serious accusations against her boss, Mayor Martin Georg Cohn (SPD).
He must have interfered in a fine against himself for speeding and tried to stop it. Cohn contradicts: “I had no influence here. I have my rights in the fine procedure, which has already been completed, that any other citizen can use. I did not take advantage of my position as mayor.”
That the prosecutor’s office has filed a complaint against him is communicated by some media. “However, I still have no information about this at the moment. I will cooperate transparently and comprehensively with the authorities. I ask for your understanding that I cannot therefore make any further statements.” The mayor also criticizes Cohn’s dealings with some employees. There is talk of loud verbal threats against the employees. Also of personally pretentious remarks.
The list of employees who have left is long
The regional council of Stuttgart, as the responsible municipal supervisory authority, will carefully examine the content of Josefa Schmid’s letter of 28 September 2022, it is stated on request. No concrete answer can be given on the duration of such an investigation, as this depends on many factors. At the same time, the Prime Minister’s Office checks whether there is evidence of a criminal offense and whether an investigation should be initiated. Until then, the presumption of innocence applies.
The list of staffers who have left City Hall since Cohn took office in December 2017 — for whatever reason — is long. With Norbert Geissler (urban planning), Dominik Heni, Birgit Albrecht, Hubertus Borrmann (all building management), Bärbel Sauer (mayor and mayor for traffic planning) or Peter Herrle (personal officer for the mayor), just to mention a few. here.
In October last year, the CDU parliamentary group in the municipal council wrote to the mayor to find out the reasons for the high fluctuation and find solutions. “In addition to the pure acquisition costs for job advertisements, holding job interviews and the like, an efficient and useful administration above all suffers from too large fluctuations,” says the letter from the chairman of the CDU city association and deputy chairman of the Folketinget’s group, Oliver Zander. This investigation should not be about finding the culprit, but about showing solutions for how the overall situation can be improved in the interest of Leonberg and the citizens.
The lack of skilled workers also affects the town halls
Ottmar Pfitzenmaier, SPD parliamentary group leader and member of the Council of Elders, is very worried that a public mud fight will completely poison the atmosphere in the town hall. The high employee turnover and the vacancies in some positions in the administration do not go unnoticed by him either. “I don’t want to protect the mayor excessively, my relationship with him is not entirely uncritical, but I find it difficult to put a job change on a supervisor.” There are many reasons why people change jobs, be it better pay or other personal reasons. “And at the moment we have a shortage of skilled workers in many areas.” The SPD municipal board does not hide its anger that Josefa Schmid’s letter to the prosecutor’s office and the regional council “came at a very late time. and was publicly pushed through, it is out of the question and harmful to the city, such an operation will only produce losers”. He would have liked the first mayor to have approached the council of elders. “There would have been other ways, regardless of how the case with the criminal charges ended, it now ties up time and energy in the administration,” says Pfitzenmaier.
SPD: Complaint comes too late
Axel Röckle, parliamentary group leader for the Free Voters, does not want to pass judgment at this time. “I only know what was in the newspapers, you would have to hear the people involved, I can’t get an objective picture.” That development is not very good for the city.
“We factions tried to address the broken relationship at the top of the town hall during the summer negotiations, that’s the only thing we can do as a municipal council.” The mayor is elected by the people and has been elected for eight years – he has already been in office for almost five years. The 1st deputy was elected by the municipal council. “We have no influence there either.”
Greens are not unconditionally behind the mayor
Bernd Murschel, the leader of the Greens in the municipal council, believes that something must be done urgently to create a workable environment in the town hall. “The municipal board has long known that the chemistry between Mr. Cohn and Mrs. Schmid is not right, it is disastrous and damages local politics. It does not help if you make life difficult for each other and sue each other, and that is why we are critical of Mrs. Schmid actions.” Murschel also makes it clear that the Green parliamentary group does not support Martin Georg Cohn unconditionally. “We have overlaps when it comes to moving away from the car-friendly city and promoting mobility in the city and increasing the quality of life. But the structures and organization in the town hall must be improved.”