Dissatisfied clients, overworked employees, vacancies: the state capital Stuttgart now wants to confront the situation in its powers with a task force.
Anyone currently relying on an authority in Stuttgart needs one thing above all: patience. The problem is not new, but it has not yet been resolved. People line up in front of citizens’ offices in the city, vehicle registration offices and the Stuttgart immigration authorities. Some report waiting times of up to five hours to re-register or apply for an ID card. Then there is the waiting time for the required document to be issued.
Refugees await ‘imaginary testimony’
Many refugees from Ukraine, for example, have been waiting for the “mock certificate”, temporary residence and work permit, for months. They can only start integration procedures such as language courses or job search if they have this.
Many vacancies in offices
“It’s so stressful for the employees that they run away and go elsewhere,” Katja Markstahler, chair of the staff board for the regulator in Stuttgart, told SWR. The deadlock in the citizen’s offices – why? Dorothea Koller, head of the Public Order Office in Stuttgart, agrees: “We don’t have enough staff.” Currently, there are about 44 vacancies out of 164″. In May there were more than 50.
Already in June Dorothea Koehler of the Public Order Office of the City of Stuttgart reported on employee problems in the regional journal SWR4 Stuttgart:
Head of the Regulatory Office: We have different problems
Koehler also points out that several circumstances led to the current situation. “We have a poor starting position with vacancies. However, we now also have very high seasonal demand in certain areas.”
One reason, for example, is that you can now extend your passport without making an appointment at the immigration office. That led to a big rush, Koehler said. “A lot of people wanted to do this quickly before they went on vacation.”
Long queues in front of the Citizens Registration Office
In addition, a large number of people waiting will not be allowed to enter the authorities as was the case before the Corona pandemic. This will also quickly lead to longer queues at the Citizens Registry Office. “This is clearly not satisfactory.”
The authorities must be the best employees
However, Dorothea Koehler does not want to say that the authorities are overwhelmed by burnout, but that employees are protected from burnout: “It is also our job to ensure that our employees are not overworked and do not get sick.” For example, you have to ensure that overtime for employees is limited.
The head of the Regulatory Office does not feel let down by the higher authorities. But she says very clearly: “We need to be better equipped in terms of personnel in the future. The problems have worsened a lot in recent years.”
The city of Stuttgart uses the “Taskforce Bürgerbüros”.
Stuttgart Mayor Frank Knüber (CDU) has now declared the problem a top priority. With the help of a working team, he would like to solve the problem of long waiting times in the offices and offices of citizens. The task force is scheduled to meet for the first time on Thursday. The goal is to achieve more efficient operations in the city’s citizen offices and better service to citizens, according to Nopper.
The staff meets every two weeks
The working group consists of decision makers from different administrative regions. Among other things, the mayor for regulatory and financial affairs is present, but also an employee of the Citizens’ Office. “We need concrete suggestions, the suggestions should come from a variety of areas – for example on the topic of employee recruitment,” Frank Knupper explained to SWR. The working group is scheduled to discuss possible solutions every two weeks.
Skilled labor shortage, pent-up demand, corona
But can someone who has been queuing in the office for hours understand that team work is now the answer? “You have to explain to people: it’s not that easy. We have a mixed situation with a shortage of skilled workers, a massive backlog in terms of travel and because of Corona,” says Nober. Many have only extended their ID cards now. “We also have a lot of refugees from Ukraine who come to the immigration office. It all comes together and that leads to the problem.” The new “Taskforce Bürgerbüros” team regularly informs the municipal council and its committees of progress and results.