Baumschutzinitiative Hannover

(c) 1993 Verlagsgesellschaft Madsack

  Datum=20.02.1997; Quelle=HAZ; Ressort=STAN;
  NORDSTADT / Administrative reasons or a simple case of giving the boot: Field and forest guard must surrender her honorary post

  “Engagement overdone”: City draws the line

  Hanover has one honorary field and forest guard less. The responsible town clerk’s office has not continued the contract with tree-protector Julia-Gertraud Hamann, which had been limited to two years time on approval. There is no agreement about the reasons for this decisions: the administration talks of formal reasons, but Hamann presumes that the city thus wanted to get rid of an unwanted critic. On the other hand, in the departments there has also been voiced criticism against Hamann’s work.

The head of the responsible department, Petra Rieger, points out administrative reasons why Hamann was not appointed as lifetime field and forest guard after her approval period: the tree-protector did not attend the course for wardens shortly after her appointment, which for several years has become mandatory, because private reasons had prevented her doing so. “We did not offer Ms Hamann to attend another ”, the head of department admits. The town clerk’s office had noticed that private persons like Julia-Gertraud Hamann would have to pay for the “course which costs several 100 Marks” themselves.  The office wanted to save Ms Hamann, who lives in early retirement, from these costs. The majority of the field and forest guards are admin employees, who do not have to pay for the course. A total of about 30 honorary field and forest guards in Hanover make sure on behalf of the city administration that green areas and nature reserves are treated with the necessary care by people seeking recreation. Rieger stresses that the termination of Hamann’s service was a decision of the entire city administration and refers to the Department for Green Areas and Horticulture.

The tree-protector is enraged: “In 1995, I did repeatedly ask by letter whether I could still do the course.” She was informed that she would have to pay for the course, but the town clerk’s office did not tell her exactly how much. Hamann suspects that the town clerk’s office wanted to get rid of a “troublesome critic in their own ranks”. Right at the beginning of her activities, the Department for Green Areas and Horticulture had criticised that she had turned to the public because of cars parking on root areas in front of the Continental skyscraper. “I was told that as member of the administration I was under a pledge of silence and should notify only the town clerk’s office of such incidents”, she reports, “but there they did not react to my complaints.” She also assumes that her massive engagement against the road construction in the Georgengarten was a thorn in the side of the administration. She is certain that the DGAH is behind the affair. From there as well a command had been issued that forbids her to become active in the Herrenhausen Gardens.

  Hans-Georg Preißel, head of Herrenhausen Gardens, confirms to have forbidden the tree-protector to become active in the baroque gardens. “We have our own supervisory staff.” He wanted to avoid that Hamann would talk to visitors and “enrage the people”. He sees her as a person with a massive missionary zeal in regard to environment protection who thus overdid her engagement. Initially, the DGAH was glad that  Julia-Gertraud Hamann reported cars driving around in the Georgengarten without permission, for instance. But her complaints by telephone or letter had become so numerous “that we would have needed to hire a person working half-time only to deal with Ms Hamann.”.

Thus, the tree-protector had become a burden for the staff of the DGAH, Preißel thinks. Moreover, it was impossible that a member of the city administration would continuously lock horns with the authorities: “Such behaviour is inadmissible in any company. Furthermore, it confuses the citizens and undermines their trust in the administration.” On the other hand, the head of the Herrenhausen Gardens emphasises that he did not have any influence on the question whether Hamann’s contract should be continued or not. “That was entirely up to the town clerk’s office to decide.” fri

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