NewsSchlesinger affair: How to proceed now - control panel...

Schlesinger affair: How to proceed now – control panel will decide on Monday

Created: 08/22/2022 11:36 am

Fall Schlesinger
The managing director of the RBB, Hagen Brandstätter, and the head of the RBB board of directors, Dorette König, in the special session of the state parliament in the Schlesinger case. © Jens Kalaene/dpa

In the case of Patricia Schlesinger, the RBB management is under more pressure. The Board of Directors is meeting again today.

Berlin – A week ago, the broadcasting council of the public service RBB dismissed Patricia Schlesinger as director. Formally, this initiated the termination of the contract. Under increasing pressure on the RBB management, the station’s board of directors now wants to discuss the termination of Patricia Schlesinger’s contract on Monday afternoon (22 August) at 2:30 p.m. The meeting of the control committee in Berlin should also deal with a possible severance payment for the recalled director and the question of pension entitlements.

The 61-year-old is heavily criticized for allegations of nepotism and felt, the public prosecutor is investigating. Politicians from different parties have already called for Schlesinger’s dismissal without notice, which was dismissed a week ago by the Broadcasting Council – the second control body.

Schlesinger affair: Immediate resignation of the station leadership demanded

The meeting of the board of directors comes at a moment when the top management of the public broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) is under extreme pressure. The other ARD directors have expressed their distrust in the remaining leadership around the managing director Hagen Brandstätter. Confidence in transparent and complete clarification has been lost, according to an unprecedented push by the directors of the broadcasting community at the weekend.

Shortly thereafter, the RBB editorial committee – representing the interests of editors – went one step further and called for the immediate resignation of the top broadcaster. The RBB management did not react to this at the weekend.

Special session on the Schlesinger affair: further meetings planned

The next steps of the Broadcasting Council will also be interesting in the next few days. Chairwoman Friederike von Kirchbach resigned on Saturday. According to dpa information, there will be another special session on Thursday (4 p.m.).

Schlesinger has been exposed to numerous allegations since the end of June, mainly through reports from the online medium “Business Insider”. She has been ARD chairwoman since the beginning of the year and RBB director since 2016. She has since resigned from both positions.

Schlesinger affair: what the allegations are about

At the center of the allegations is the recalled director and the resigned head of the RBB board of directors, Wolf-Dieter Wolf. Both rejected allegations. It’s about controversial consulting contracts for an RBB construction project, about agreements between the two on salary and bonuses for Schlesinger. And about jobs for the husband and ex-“Spiegel” journalist Gerhard Spörl at the Berlin Exhibition Center – where Wolf was also chief supervisor until recently.

The General Prosecutor’s Office in Berlin is investigating the three for infidelity and accepting benefits. It is the presumption of innocence. An external investigation into a law firm is also underway.

Discussion about Schlesinger salary increase and controversial bonus system

The public debate also revolves around a lack of tact and morality. The allegations are also about details such as dinner in Schlesinger’s private apartment at RBB’s expense, travel, massage seats in an expensive company car and a green plant wall on the executive floor – all of this in a notoriously clammy station with the worst ARD quota in the program.

The controversial bonus system for RBB executives, which only became known as a result of public and internal pressure, enraged many in particular. Schlesinger also received a substantial salary increase of 16 percent to 303,000 euros. A few days ago, the managing director Hagen Brandstätter did not want to give any figures in the Brandenburg state parliament as to how much bonus he and the management team received – for example program director Jan Schulte-Kellinghaus, operations director Christoph Augenstein and legal director Susann Lange.

Shortly thereafter, the management then tried a small role forward and disclosed the salaries including bonuses – but not Schlesinger’s numbers. They don’t want any bonuses this year either and want to work to ensure that the system, which does not otherwise exist in ARD, is scrapped, Brandstätter said, according to dpa.

The list on the ARD website showed that the salaries for artistic directors vary greatly within the broadcasting corporations. (tk with dpa)

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