For months, closures in the private Unterhaching daycare center have brought affected parents to despair. In the municipal council meeting, they now vented their displeasure.
Unterhaching – This time, the citizens' question lasted 31 minutes in the Unterhaching municipal council, and for the first time after exactly 15 years as mayor, Wolfgang Panzer (SPD) had to call to order by official bell. In the emotional mix of despair and criticism, it was about the private daycare center Champini at the sports park: Several parents complained that the care of their children had failed for months up to 60 percent. Gerhard Treitinger from the parents' council brought along the 15-page correspondence and tried to blame the mayor personally for the personnel problems of the private daycare center.
Working parents at the limit
On 180 days of operation of Champini, a mother calculated, there were 89 group closures; on 46 days, the children had to be picked up earlier. So no regular daycare operation: This means a huge problem for working parents.
"The legal right of our children to a childcare place and early childhood care is being trampled underfoot," complained Gerhard Treitinger. The parents' council saw a cause for the misery in what it considered to be a failed personnel policy of Champini – because of a fee increase of 18 percent, he even accused the institution of "pure profit maximization on the backs of the children".
Authorized signatory of the daycare center takes a stand
An authorized signatory of Champini from Nuremberg, this can be seen from the correspondence, referred to a "wave of illness that partially restricts the care offered to the children". In principle, the personnel key is sufficient "to compensate for waves of illness, vacation days and other absences". And, according to the Champini authorized signatory: The well-being of the child is "absolutely the top priority" – it is important to "ensure the duty of supervision in emergency situations" even with reduced staff.
The parents, and Gerhard Treitinger in particular, were not satisfied with all this – further complaints went to the district office and, for the first time, to Mayor Wolfgang Panzer on 3 May. Treitinger accused him of being inactive, ignoring e-mails and "not effectively lobbying the provider of the daycare center for the Unterhaching children".
Mayor defends himself against criticism from parents' council
The mayor promptly denied the allegations. "Since it is a private carrier, we can hardly influence it," said Panzer. But his specialist departments would look into the matter. An answer that angered Treitinger: "Everyone takes a fig leaf, holds it in front of them and evades responsibility. Mr. Panzer, I am disappointed and would have expected you to take a fundamental stance."
These verbal skirmishes dragged on for several minutes, Panzer said he "accepted your displeasure", but evaluated the accusation of doing nothing as "impudence" with reference to his specialist departments.
Vice-Mayor expresses solidarity with parents
Now Deputy Mayor Johanna Zapf (Greens) intervened – she herself had made a request to the department in the town hall and received no answer. She expressed solidarity with the parents, "for whom this level of juggling is unreasonable".
When Peter Wöstenbrink (SPD) and Peter Hupfauer (FDP) complained that Johanna Zapf could "no longer differentiate between party-political agitation and her office as deputy mayor" and that she had "harnessed her parents to their carts" in order to "bash", tempers in the town hall meeting room finally boiled over. So much so that Wolfgang Panzer had to ring the official bell for the first time in 15 years to ensure calm.
Where do we go from here? From the Champini daycare center at the sports park it can be heard that the wave of illness has now been overcome, there has been a chain of unfortunate circumstances, but since the Easter holidays operations have been running normally again. In the Cultural and Social Committee on 14 June, the specialist department of the town hall will give its opinion.