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Is the landlord allowed to invite the city council to the folk festival? A snack as a political issue


Highlights: The city council of Weilheim, Germany, is hosting a folk festival this weekend. The city's mayor asked the council to pay the bill for the food and drink. The mayor says it is a tradition, not an obligation, to pay for food and drinks. The council will continue to pay out of its own pocket, the mayor says. The festival runs until the end of the month, but the city will not pay for it until the city pays back its share of the bill.

Weilheim's council members were generous on Thursday at the Obulus for the employees in the marquee, which the mayors Markus Loth (who had followed) and Angelika Flock had asked for as usual. © private

Is it okay if Weilheim's landlord invites the members of the city council to eat at the folk festival? No, says "WM Miteinander" city councillor Ullrich Klinkicht – and requested that in the future everyone should pay their own bill. But it doesn't come to that.

Weilheim – First the work, then the pleasure: Every year, Weilheim's city council has a meeting on the Thursday before Pentecost. It starts half an hour earlier than usual, the speeches are often shorter than usual, the quota of dirndls and lederhosen in the committee is high - and all this is no coincidence: After the meeting, the city council members traditionally go to the "Day of Companies, Authorities and Associations" at the Weilheimer Volksfest.

"World Cup Together" city councillor was surprised that the snack was on the house

Last year, Ullrich Klinkicht, who has been a member of the city council for "Weilheim Miteinander" since 2020, was also there for the first time when they moved into the "Festhalle Bayernland" of the Schöniger family on Weilheim's Wiesn. Believing that he was following an invitation from the mayor, he now wrote in an "emergency motion": "I was of the opinion that I should take part in this festivity as a small recognition of the work done in the city council – at the expense of the city, of course. I was completely surprised when, after some time, Mayor Loth thanked the festival host for inviting the city council members in the reserved box of the marquee."

The snack boards, which Weilheim's city council members are allowed to use when visiting the folk festival, look inviting. © Ralf Ruder

Klinkicht: City council members should pay the bill themselves

For Klinkicht, such an invitation bites with the fact that "as far as I know, the members of the city council and/or the mayor decide at regular intervals on the awarding of the concession to hold the Weilheimer Volksfest to a festival host". According to the local politician, this is hardly possible neutrally and independently, "if a festival host pays for food and drinks to the same city council committee for years". In the current budget situation, however, it is also "not demonstrable" that the city bears these costs. Hence Klinkicht's motion: "The members of the Weilheim city council will continue to be asked by the mayor to visit the Weilheim folk festival together after the city council meeting. The members of the city council pay the bill out of their own pockets."

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As it is formulated, this application is not admissible, explained in the city council on Thursday evening 2nd Mayor Angelika Flock (CSU) as chairman of the meeting: Because the city council could not impose a payment obligation on a third party in this form. Nevertheless, the chairman of the meeting – town hall boss Markus Loth (BfW) was unable to attend due to a business trip – wanted to "clarify" a few things about the matter. The mayor invites the council members to visit the folk festival and not to eat. And following this is "completely voluntary," says Flock. The invitation by the festival host is a decades-old tradition, completely independent of the respective festival host or mayor, and is intended as "recognition for the voluntary work of the city councillors".

"Nobody wants to enrich themselves," said the deputy mayor

According to Flock, a "simple snack" is served: sausage, cheese and radish, served on larger boards, from which "eight to ten city councillors can help themselves". And towards the end of the evening, the deputy mayor emphasized, there is always a basket going through the ranks, into which each city council member "puts money extremely generously" as an obulus for the employees. "No one wants to enrich themselves," Flock emphasized. In any case, there is no concession decision pending, she added. And she puts "her hand in the fire for every single member of the city council so that no one here can be influenced in their freedom of choice because of a snack".


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Invitations within "reasonable limits" are common

To confirm this, Flock quoted from an official leaflet for municipal elected officials, according to which invitations to concerts or meals together are common – and within an appropriate framework also uncritical. According to a note, this applies up to 100 euros, which is far from being the case in the case of the folk festival invitation. "I can say with a clear conscience: We can go to the folk festival tonight," Flock concluded. There was no discussion about this. And a short time later, as usual, most of the council members present accepted the invitation to a snack at the folk festival. This time, however, Ullrich Klinkicht was not there.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-05-28

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