From the Ausländerbeirat…

Yesterday evening the Ausländerbeirat met in Oberursel’s town hall again and once again I went along to observe the proceedings.  I have to say, that I came away with somewhat mixed feelings.

My most positive observation of the evening was that the chairman, Franz Zenker, was more confident in the role and far more well prepared than at the previous sittings.  He demonstrated this in particular by reporting from the finance committee with his impressions of their last sitting, and was able to explain things in some detail.  He was also able to give a list of topics being discussed in their next sitting, although as I have noted previously, the committee just listens to the list without any comment or discussion.

Other members of the committee who were to report on other sub-committees of the town’s parliament were not as forthcoming with their thoughts. [Read more…]

A second look at the Ausländerbeirat

When I first visited the Ausländerbeirat in Oberursel last month, I was critical of much of what went on during the evening – in particular the lack of preparation and willingness to attend other committees.

My article prompted some interested responses, some here on the site, but also on social media and especially some in person in the town.

So when the committee met again this week, I went along for a second look and to see if anything had changed, or more to the point to see if it is always the way that I observed to be the month before.

The evening started with the information that one of the elected committee members is giving up their mandate.  As happened over the summer with another member, rather than leave the seat vacant or have a new election, the person who had the highest number of votes at the last election without actually being elected effectively moves up the results list to fill the space. [Read more…]

A first look at Oberursel’s Ausländerbeirat

The last time that I wrote about the term “Ausländerbeirat” I had just voted in Oberursel to elect a new one in November 2010.  At the time I asked what the point of having one was, especially I did not know any of the candidates and the turnout at the election was only 3%.

For the benefit of readers who are not aware of the Ausländerbeirat (other than a voting slip every 5 years), it is an elected parliamentary body that every town in Hessen has where more than 1000 foreigners live.  And only those foreigners are eligible to stand for election and to vote.

As I understand it they have two purposes.  One is to support the integration of foreigners in the local community, and the other is to look at the decisions being made by other committees and the town parliament in order to comment on whether the non-German communities will be particularly affected by them.

Whether they have any power to block any of those decisions, I have yet to discover. [Read more…]

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