From the Ausländerbeirat

All members of the Ausländerbeirat were present when their meeting started on Monday, 9th March, 2015.  The meeting got speedily underway, with no questions from members of the public, a short statement by the chairman, and no messages from the town’s administration.  The guest speaker on the topic of “Anti-discrimination in Frankfurt” was not there, so within a few minutes the committee had already made it to item 6 on their agenda.

However before they could deal with that item, and after some discussion about how exactly to change the agenda, they added item 12: a discussion about the gala evening of the Windrose charity.  Theoretically item 12 could have been added to the end of the agenda, but there was an objection to this as committee member Giannoula Kalargali wanted to be there for the discussion (and vote) and had – as so often in the past – to leave early.

So item 12 became item 5 (neu), or mabye it became just item 5, because item 5 was dropped, because the speaker was not there.  Let’s just say it made it onto the agenda between items 4 and 6.

The charity was planning to hold a gala evening in aid of the refugees in the town and to assist their work with asylum seekers and other integration projects.  This sort of work is something that the committee wanted to support, but with tickets costing €25 per person, committee member Natalie Bind suggested that the tickets for those around the table should be met out of the Ausländerbeirat’s annual budget.  A strange suggestion maybe for someone who in the previous meeting had questioned where the money for the election campaign would be coming from.

Before a discussion on the ethics of this proposal could develop, chairman Dr. Franz Zenker reported that he had already spoken to someone in the town hall about the idea, who saw it as being a potential problem using their funds in that manner.  But Frau Bind was not ready to give up yet, and suggested donating the money from their budget to the charity, and in return receiving free tickets for the evening.

That did launch a discussion about the ethics of the proposal, which only ended when someone pointed out that the gala was potentially already sold out and they would not be able to buy the tickets anyway.  Finally, it was agreed that the chairman would ask the Mayor about potential funding for those on the committee that needed assistance paying for the tickets, and the matter ended without a vote taking place.

Returning to the original agenda, item 6 concerned the committee’s election which takes place in November.  Thomas Eifert – the committee’s representative in the town hall – and Dr. Zenker reported on their plans so far.  They intended to have less balloons and more flyers than had been the case 5 years ago.  Natalie Bind reported at this point that she still had those left over 5 years ago at home!  Dr.Zenker plans to hold one or two events in the town hall, maybe one to find candidates and another to raise awareness of the election.

They also intend to use the committee’s public notice board, which is located outside the town hall.  (I have to admit, this is the first time that I had heard about this notice board).  Again, Natalie Bind reported that she has the key to the notice board.

Dr. Zenker asked those present if they intended to stand for re-election, with Chantal Le Nestour suggesting that it would be better to have more than one list of candidates to choose from, unlike in the previous election.  Giannaoula Kalargali made it clear that she intends to stand.  She did not, however, make it clear if she intended to then actually attend the future meetings for their full duration!

Interestingly Thomas Eifert announced that he wanted to find out how much it would cost to send out information about the election by post, including information about the candidates.  If only he had read the minutes of the previous meeting when I not only asked this question, but also answered it as well he would already have known.  Strangely in the minutes of this meeting there is no mention of him wanting to find out, instead the information has just been minuted.

And so we came to the traditional reports from the other meetings.  And as has been traditionally the case recently, Giannoula Kalargali suddenly had to go, just as it was her turn to give her report.  The problem was, that the next item – topics for discussion at forthcoming meetings – contained rather a large list of building applications, some of which had been eagerly discussed online in the previous weeks and covered in the local papers.

So Dr. Zenker asked the committee if they would object to having myself explain the projects to them, which they did not.  So without any preparation and off the top of my head, I went through what was planned to be built and what had to go to make way for it.

There is a certain irony in the fact that I was able to do this using publicly available information (and from memory!), and yet the committee members themselves must have had much more detailed information on their iPads.

In the end, it probably did not make any difference to those planning applications (Bebauungspläne), as not only did they not see a need to discuss them in depth, any comments they did have would have needed to be presented at the planning committee two days later.  And according to the minutes of that meeting, the Ausländerbeirat representative left early…

And or some reason the minutes of the Ausländerbeirat’s meeting do not reflect any of this.  There is no metion of Frau Kalargali leaving after just 40 minutes, and there is no mention of my presentation of the planning applications.  Just a note referring the committee members to their documents.

I wonder if those minutes will get approved next week without any further discussion?  I had better get a question ready just in case.


About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. Well, it looks like the Ausländerbeirat needs a bit of shaking up.
    It made for an amusing read, though.

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