Until now, the district council and its committees have always met on mondays at 9 and 8 a.M., respectively.30 o’clock. The end of the district council sessions in particular is "incalculable," says baumgartner. These ended sometimes at 11 a.M., sometimes not until 2 or 3 p.M. "With the current meeting times, we are excluding many from the district council.", says baumgartner. It is necessary to adapt to changing conditions in society.
This is the only way to make local politics accessible to young people and "people who are in the middle of life", open. The evening meeting times also offered women the opportunity to better reconcile membership in the district council with their families.
For morning meetings and committees, county council members would be given time off from work. "The exemption is – justifiably – becoming increasingly difficult", baumgartner points out. When a "top man" is involved in the district council and in the committees engaged, he misses the employer on twelve dates. For people who are independent, especially in the beginning, "every hour hurts".
Baumgartner therefore proposes that the meetings be held in the "early evening" in the future, in his opinion, it should be moved to 6 p.M. An end should then around 21.30 o’clock should be targeted.
Broadcast on the internet
"This is of course a drastic change", rooms baumgartner. In his view, however, it is urgently needed to bring local politics closer to the people. Many felt that they were no longer adequately represented in local politics. "It is important that the district council remains a mirror image of society and perhaps becomes one again", says baumgartner.
To make the district council and its committees accessible to all citizens and thus "more transparent and open" in order to organize the meetings, the csuler also proposes to broadcast the meetings on the internet via livestream. In this way, politics could be made more tangible for the people. As far as data protection is concerned, baumgartner presupposes a willingness to be public "if I allow myself to be elected to such an office".
End of the legislative period
How do the other parties view baumgartner’s proposal?? Richard rauh, the parliamentary group leader of the SPD, says that in principle it doesn’t matter to him whether the district council meets early in the morning or in the evening. "It is important that something sensible comes out of it in the end." The topic of meeting times had already been discussed once at the beginning of the legislative period – by the city of kronach, among others. Now the end of the legislative period is approaching again, which is why the CSU district chairman is "a little late" with his proposal be. However, it is the county council that must ultimately decide on a change in meeting times.
Rauh points out that members of the district council receive compensation for loss of earnings or are released from work. Should the transfer actually lead to young people being elected to the district council, for example, "it would not be wrong".
As for the broadcasting of the meetings on the internet, rauh thinks it is an interesting aspect that you can then see who is present. At previous meetings, many had "shone by their absence". At the same time, it also became clear who prefers to devote themselves to sideline activities such as using their smartphones during the meetings.
Conflict with other meetings
"I am always open to change", stefan wicklein, spokesman for the free voters’ group, is open to baumgartner’s proposal. However, he points out that the interests of the community had to be taken into account. Since many municipal meetings take place in the evening hours and some municipal councils are county councils as well as mayors, conflicts could arise. "The bottom line is that a large part of the population can actually attend the meetings."
Wicklein takes a more critical view of the proposal to broadcast the meetings via livestream. From his point of view, this could collide with the current legal regulations. However, the declaration of understanding of each district council member and a fixed speaker’s place could possibly solve this challenge. But in the end, all this had to be discussed within the framework of the business regulations in the district council.
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District administrator klaus loffler (CSU) considers baumgartner’s advance an "interesting and good approach". The district administrator therefore first wants to discuss the proposal with both the parliamentary group chairmen and the administration. Loffler shares wicklein’s concerns about personal rights in a livestream with a view to the current rules of procedure. If you want to do this, it would make sense to do it after the constituent meeting of the new district council after the election in 2020. The technical prerequisites, on the other hand, could well have been created in the course of the renovation of the district administration office.
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