At a short-term special meeting of the city council meeting on Tuesday evening, the procedures for the premature removal of Peter Freier (CDU) as mayor and treasurer of the city of Offenbach were initiated by the Hessian municipal code.

The new coalition made up of the SPD, Greens and FDP had previously applied for the first of two mandatory resolutions to be taken that evening to recall suitors.

Jochen Remmert

Airport editor and correspondent Rhein-Main-Süd.

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    Such a first decision must be confirmed by a second decision. This may take place at the earliest four weeks after the first and after the previous second consultation in order to be lawful, as stipulated by the Hessian municipal code.

    Correspondingly, a further proposal made by the traffic light coalition on Tuesday evening provides for the positions previously held by Freier to be refilled on July 15.

    The coalition decided, among other things, to elect Sabine Groß from the Greens as mayor.

    She has already been responsible for labor, social affairs and health in the superseded coalition of CDU, Greens, FDP and Free Voters.

    Groß is to take over the traffic planning and the environmental department from the old and probably new planning department head Paul-Gerhard Weiß (FDP).

    The previous parliamentary group leader of the SPD, Martin Wilhelm, is to become the new treasurer.

    In the future, he will also be responsible for work and social affairs.

    Running costs are a problem

    As "Mobility Director", Groß was responsible for local public transport, among other things, in the replaced Tanzania coalition. However, it is precisely this that has proven to be a delicate cost factor that is likely to jeopardize the approval of future city budgets by the municipal financial supervisory authority of the Darmstadt Regional Council. The big problem here is not the conversion to electric buses, but the running costs of an expanded offer, which Freier had pointed out several times.

    Another cost driver in Offenbach is the cost of more staff.

    The Ampel-Coalition has therefore reacted to the looming renewed escalation of the budget situation by announcing, among other things, that it wants to make significant savings in local transport.

    A corresponding concept is currently being worked on, which will come into effect when the timetable changes in December this year.

    The coalition justifies its savings decision with the loss of income in the course of the corona pandemic, which has led to a greatly reduced number of users.

    In addition, the bus drivers have achieved an above-average collective agreement, which increases the costs.

    "Quite normal process"

    The savings should relieve the budget by 19 million euros between 2022 and 2025. The municipal financial supervisory authority had already warned of such risks in connection with the budget approval for 2021.

    In this context, the coalition accuses the outgoing treasurer of not having correctly presented the city's actual financial situation. Offenbach is by no means in a "solid financial position", the SPD leader Christian Grünewald had recently stated. The new coalition is not facing a well-tilled field, as Freier claimed, but rather facing an "ongoing case of renovation". Grünewald is primarily referring to the warning from the municipal financial supervisory authority at the Darmstadt regional council. The FDP also criticized suitors in a similar way. However, the Free Democrats, together with the CDU and the Greens, as part of the governing coalition, have shared responsibility for the city's expenses.

    On Tuesday evening, Grünewald expressly certified in his written justification for the request for deselection of suitors that he was an honorable and honest person who had made genuine efforts to help Offenbach. Regardless of this, the early replacement of a full-time alderman is expressly provided for in the municipal code. When today's Lord Mayor Felix Schwenke (SPD) was voted out five years ago by the then newly formed coalition of CDU, Greens, FDP and Free Voters, the alliance also said that this was a "completely normal process" act.