Urban policy – Graz redistributes the departments



The Graz coalition negotiators from the KPÖ, Greens and SPÖ have agreed on the allocation of departments, as announced on Tuesday evening. Elke Kahr from the KPÖ is proposed as mayor, she will take care of social issues, her personal department of housing and women’s agendas. The Green Judith Schwentner takes care of urban and street planning and the environment. The ÖVP receives culture, sport and business, among other things, the FPÖ only has the citizenship office.

On Tuesday evening, the party leaders Elke Kahr, Judith Schwentner and Michael Ehmann (SPÖ) held talks with the other parties represented in the Graz municipal council and informed them about the planned division of responsibilities in the new city senate. Kahr said, “We want a new culture of togetherness to move into Graz City Hall. That is why it was and is important to us to talk to all parties on an equal footing and to entrust the ÖVP with responsible and important tasks.” At the constituent meeting on November 17th, Kahr will be proposed as mayor, Schwentner as deputy mayor.

Schwentner said she was confident that she would find “constructive cooperation in the interests of the city” and the people of Graz in the next few years. A balanced division of departments and responsibilities is important to the negotiators. “I am delighted that I will take on responsibility in the areas of planning, mobility and climate protection myself. There is a lot to do,” said the current City Councilor for the Environment, Schwentner.

The decision will be made on Friday

The focus and work program would be of decisive importance for the approval of the SPÖ board of directors for the coalition next Friday, according to SPÖ club boss Michael Ehmann, whose party did not have a seat in the city senate, but plays an important role in forming a majority. “We are on the right track – because this also reflects this new culture and the common will to make Graz even better, even more livable.”

On Friday evening the committee meetings take place, the district leadership meeting of the KPÖ, the general assembly of the Greens and the regional board of the SPÖ. The conclusion of a coalition agreement is discussed and decided upon.

In the allocation of departments, the following were planned for Kahr: Municipal Directorate, Presidential Department, Department for Communication, Social Welfare Office (minus Department for Disability Assistance and Department for Nursing Home Costs), Housing Matters and Housing Graz, District Centers for Community Work, Women and Equal Opportunities, Office for Peace and Development, Migrants Advisory Board, Human Rights Advisory Board , Interreligious Advisory Board and Citizens Hospital Foundation.

Deputy Mayor Schwentner is to receive the city building department, the district centers with regard to participation, the road authority, the department for green space and water, the department for traffic planning, the city survey office and the city planning office. The environmental agency already holds it.

KPÖ club boss Manfred Eber will take over the city council and the finance department (from ÖVP city council Günter Riegler), as well as the department for community taxes and accounting, the personnel office, the parking service as well as the fire brigade and disaster control.

The previous City Councilor for Health and Care Robert Krotzer (KPÖ) retains the health department (with the exception of food safety and markets) and the geriatric health centers, the departments for social welfare office with regard to nursing home costs and the department of care / planning / controlling as well as the department for work and employment. There is also the department for education and integration.

FPÖ in the scandal swamp

The two city councils of the ÖVP – Kurt Hohensinner and Günter Riegler – were assigned the areas of cultural office (previously also Riegler), the Frida and Fred children’s museum, the department for business and tourism development, City of Design, Graz Film Commission, the sports office (previously Hohensinner) and the office for youth and family (excluding the Women and Equal Opportunities Unit). Furthermore, the department for education and integration (with the exception of the integration division), the health department with regard to the food safety and markets division, social affairs with regard to assistance for the handicapped, and the building and plant authority at the Graz city public transport authority.

The FPÖ has lost most of its responsibility, which is probably due to the recent scandals about extra fees for the previous party leadership and the diversion of large sums of money from public funds by the former FPÖ club director. The FPÖ remains the citizens’ office, similarly only the controversial city councilor Susanne Winter was dismantled in the past. It is not yet clear who will take over the city council agendas. The previous Vice Mayor Mario Eustacchio and club chairman Armin Sippel resigned after the disclosure of extra fees and apparently illegal cash flows from club funds. (apa)


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