Even if Peter Feldmann's time in the office of Frankfurt's Lord Mayor will be up in November or 2024 at the latest, not everything will be all right again.

Because the scandal surrounding the Frankfurt mayor highlighted weaknesses in the Hessian municipal code that should be remedied.

This no longer has to happen in the current legislative period of the state parliament, which ends in 2023, but it would be good if the new state parliament then took up the matter.

Lowering the clearly too high hurdles for voting out a failed district administrator or (lord) mayor is still the easier exercise.

Moderate solutions can be found here, with which a deselection does not become the most difficult of all exercises on the one hand, but on the other hand cannot be pushed through by a small group of voters on a whim.

Far more difficult, yet necessary, is to redefine the positions of those directly elected by citizens.

Only half way

When direct elections were introduced in the 1990s, the state legislature only went halfway by upgrading the offices in this way, but not assigning them sufficient powers.

This is different in southern Germany with its longer tradition of direct elections.

The mayor of a large city in Hesse, for example, is not entitled to much more than tailoring the departments, because the administration will continue to be managed by the entire magistrate as a collegial body.

This can work well if the voters have decided that the mayor belongs to a party that governs the city council alone or in a coalition.

But it tends not to work when the colors don't match, and it always fails when there is a rift, as in Frankfurt.

Either direct elections should be abolished, for which one can have sympathy, even if it hardly seems feasible.

Or the directly elected should be granted more powers.

How it is not possible can be seen in Frankfurt, where the mayor has not acted as part of the city government for years, but alongside it.

And with absurd results.

It goes without saying that those who are to hold such more powerful offices must then be selected with the greatest care.