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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany / A program to foster citizen participation in government and politics in Germany

3. The public employee, the citizen and the state,   pp. 11-13 PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 11

(6) Kreis Officers
The common program for the Kreis Officers for
Program Items 1-4 is discussed in Part III, subd. 4.
(7) Newspapers and Radio
Problems in local government ought to be of
public interest to the local press both in
terms of general principles and specific problems.
The conferences proposed under program item 1
will necessarily touch on this subject, and both the
Land and Kreis Offices should so far as possible
establish close relations with the newspaper
editors, publishers, and reporters and should seek
their cooperation for articles on local government
and local autonomy or on specific news events of
significance in these fields. IPG will provide
material on the general subject which will be
circulated through the Land Offices to the Kreis
Officers. The Land Offices should keep the Resi-
dent Officers informed of developments in the
government, and the Landtag on bills dealing with
local autonomy or other aspects of local govern-
ment, pointing out matters of particular interest to
local government officials and local citizens.
Newspaper discussion of local problems and the
activities of the local government will gradually
build up an understanding and interest in local
affairs among citizens, especially if they encour-
age citizens to take a part in supporting some
particular local improvement.
Denial of citizen participation in local affairs by
local officials is also a proper subject for comment.
As indicated in Part. III, subd. 2, all of these
activities in the newspaper field will be coordinated
with the Press and Publications Branch of the In-
formation Services Division, and Material going out
from IPG and Land Offices may most conveniently
be distributed through ISD facilities with informa-
tion copies to the KRO's involved.
The foregoing comments apply equally to radio.
(8) Films
No special film program has yet been planned,
but it is believed that there are U.S. films avail-
able on the subject and that the Motion Picture
Branch of ISD will be interested in sponsoring the
preparation of one or more German shorts on the
As the result of historical tradition and political
philosophy, there is a widely accepted view that
the state is an independent entity superior to the
citizen, with the right to direct and control his in-
dividual activities; that the official, as the rep-
resentative of the state, is therefore the superior
of the citizen; that the citizen has no rights ex-
cept those specifically granted by constitution or
law; and that even these are somewhat in the
nature of privileges. Such rights are too often
evaded with comparative ease because of the au-
thoritarian character of public administration.
Special laws exist to protect the privileged status
of the official in relation to the public or the
citizen. Machinery for assertion of the citizen's
rights is cumbersome and frequently fails to afford
protection. In general officials recognize no obliga-
tion to inform the public on policy or action. This
is not merely to protect officials from questioning
and criticism, but because it is believed that the
responsibility lies with the officials alone and the
citizen has no right to information or participation.
To support German leaders and groups who seek
(1) Educate officials and citizens to recognize in
practice that the state is the creation of the people
and responsible to them, and accordingly that the
official is the servant of the people;
(2) Eliminate privileged protection for officials;
(3) Reform the civil service system to make it
more democratic and discourage authoritarian at-
(4) Assure more effective protection of individual
rights against official infringement by improve-
ment in the administrative court system.
(5) Establish the obligation of officials to report
to the citizens upon their policy and their action.
As illustration, efforts of civil service reform
might initially be concentrated on assurance that
all loyal citizens have the opportunity to compete
for positions in the public service, that appointees
are selected on the basis of relative fitness for the
work involved, that an impartial personnel office
has authority to assure uniform application of
the law by all governmental agencies, that ad-
equate protection is afforded public servants against
arbitrary or capricious action by their superiors,
and that public servants are not allowed to partici-
pate actively in politics. All those reforms should
apply to employees (Angestellte) as well as of-
ficials (Beamte), even though the distinction be-
tween the two groups continues so far as tenure
and pension rights are concerned. Such reforms
should assure a public service much more rep-
resentative of the people and a considerably greater
degree of democracy within the public service it-
self, and lead to a less authoritarian attitude to-
ward the citizen.
In addition, local governments, and not the state,
should have control over the appointment and dis-
missal of local public servants, although, if they
wish, they may use state facilities for selection and
The jurisdiction of administrative courts ought
to be as broad as the authority of the government,
so that every official action is subject to review,
and the courts should consider themselves as im-
partial between the government and the citizen.
The courts should be protected from legislative
and executive interference. They should have ade-
quate staff and facilities.
(1) Civil Service
Civil Service laws were promulgated in 1946 in
Hesse, Wuerttemberg-Baden and Bavaria which
eliminated many of the objectionable aspects of
the traditional system. These laws enabled the
Laender to establish systems which were non-au-
thoritarian and conformed to the principles sug-
gested above. Initially the Laender governments, in-
fluenced by the old civil servant, failed to take
advantage of this opportunity, but they have now
established central personnel offices which for the

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