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ARD confirms "unusual" RBB allowances for chairmanship

The ARD has described the fact that allowances were paid to top RBB personnel for the ARD chairmanship as unusual.

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ARD confirms "unusual" RBB allowances for chairmanship

The ARD has described the fact that allowances were paid to top RBB personnel for the ARD chairmanship as unusual. The ARD announced on Thursday: "Additional allowances of this amount that come about in this way are not known to us from the ARD." Therefore, RBB interim director Katrin Vernau agrees and rates "them as unusual".

The day before, Vernau had informed the employees of the crisis-ridden public broadcaster ARD about the allowances and handed the case over to an employment law firm. She spoke of the fact that "measure and middle have been completely lost".

It is about allowances for RBB management staff - including the management - with a view to the ARD chairmanship, which Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) took over on January 1, 2022. There is talk of 1700 euros a month, which were paid months before the start of the presidency with additional agreements.

As a result of the Felt scandal, this was prematurely transferred to WDR, RBB director Patricia Schlesinger resigned from the ARD chair and later also as the head of the station and was dismissed without notice. She denied allegations.

The presidency usually moves between the ARD houses after two years. According to ARD information, there is no type of general rule for allowances during an ARD management. The conditions in the houses are not comparable. The ARD is not a corporation, but an association of independent broadcasters. Each company has its own compensation system and collective agreement.

Since the beginning of the year, the ARD chairmanship has been based at Südwestrundfunk (SWR). The ARD said: "The director and the members of the management will not receive a higher salary in the SWR for the time of the ARD chairmanship."

Inconsistencies arise when the RBB allowances come about. According to Vernau, the contracts had all been countersigned by the chairman of the board, who also resigned amid the scandal. The current head of the board of directors announced that there were no draft resolutions for the other board members. The Board of Directors is the broadcaster's control body.

And in the case of Schlesinger, according to Vernau, there was a draft template for an allowance of 2,000 euros. "However, the allowance was not paid to Ms. Schlesinger because the HR department did not have this agreement."

In the midst of the ongoing investigation into corporate culture at Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), one of the NDR control bodies formulated recommendations for the ARD station. The Hamburg State Broadcasting Council published several points on Thursday, including transparency in filling vacancies, tightening up the regulations on protection against corruption and reviewing complaint structures.

In the fall, the public broadcaster NDR launched an external investigation into corporate culture across the entire broadcaster. The background to this was different allegations in the state radio stations in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. There was also an internal review.

The Chairman of the State Broadcasting Council, Thomas Kärst, said: "We have dealt intensively with the final reports of the anti-corruption officers and the internal journalistic workup and also had many discussions with employees." However, there are clear deficiencies in the management culture and the working atmosphere in the Landesfunkhaus Hamburg.

When asked, the NDR said: “We welcome the recommendations and conclusions of the Hamburg State Broadcasting Council. They confirm the process that has been initiated of reviewing existing rules on the one hand and examining the working atmosphere throughout NDR on the other.”

A lot is currently being worked on, for example the further tightening of compliance rules and possible improvements in the situation of freelancers. "In addition, the position of the state broadcasting director, who is leaving NDR at the beginning of April 2023, was publicly advertised at the turn of the year." The restart at the state broadcasting center in Hamburg is on the way.

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