"The health is the most important thing"

From the words with which Thomas Glashauser addresses the residents of Aschheim in the foreword of the community newspaper of September 22, it can be seen how difficult this step must have been for him. The mayor announces that he will resign from office for the next few months. Diagnose burnout. The sheer volume and weight of the responsibilities that come with leading a growing church in the Munich district today have pushed the 47-year-old to the brink of his capacity. He seeks medical treatment to defeat the disease. In the meantime, his deputy Robert Ertl (free voters’ community) will take over official business in Aschheim’s town hall, supported by the third mayor Marion Seitz (Greens).

Both appreciate that Glashauser (CSU) pulled the ripcord for health reasons. “I think it’s very good that he communicates his illness so openly,” says Seitz. “This step was the only right thing he could do. It’s important that he gets well again.” The mayor had already informed his two deputies and his closest circle about his situation in internal discussions.

“Health comes first,” says Ertl about Glashauser’s decision. He therefore immediately signaled to the mayor that he was willing to take over the official business temporarily. Talks will be held with the employees of the town hall administration next week in order to coordinate the further processes. From September 29, Ertl will then chair the meetings of the municipal council. He has experience in deputizing, in the spring he already took over Glashauser’s tasks for four weeks. “But now, of course, I have to learn a lot more.”

Vice-Chairman Ertl will initially only work part-time for the time being

From deputy for a few weeks to head of town hall for several months – this inevitably increases the duties that Ertl has to fulfill in Aschheim . The local politician works full-time as head of medical technology in the Ebersberg district hospital. He will significantly reduce this activity in the coming weeks, as he announces. “The manager of the clinic was very courteous and understanding.” Ertl now wants to do his part-time job twice a week, the rest of the time he sits in the executive chair in the town hall. Despite the greater amount of work, Ertl says he will remain active as mayor on a voluntary basis for the time being.

In any case, Marion Seitz will also remain an honorary third mayor and as such will support Ertl in his tasks by arrangement. She shows great understanding for Glashauser’s decision. Nobody who is passionate about their tasks is immune to burnout, says Seitz. In addition, there is the particularly exposed position as mayor in a municipality. “As a mayor, you’re practically constantly in office, which makes it difficult to switch off,” she points out. Private life is easily hijacked by the public role.

Glashauser has always prioritized the community, sometimes putting himself aside, says CSU parliamentary group spokesman Rolf Dettweiler, who has been a political companion to Glashauser for many years. In addition, during Glashauser’s term of office since 2014, many particularly challenging topics have come up: in addition to the daily official business, the mayor had to organize the accommodation of thousands of refugees, followed by the biting debates about the location of a slaughterhouse in Aschheim, the new construction of the town hall and the road development contribution statute as well as the Wirecard -Scandal. The parliamentary group strongly supports Glashauser’s decision on the break and treatment. “We hope he comes back healthy,” says Dettweiler. “And find a good way for him to work again in the future.”

No one can currently say how long the mayor will be absent from the town hall. According to Ertl, the deputy is definitely planned by the end of the year, after which a decision will have to be made depending on the health situation. Glashauser himself has indicated that he intends to complete his term of office.

In general, says Seitz, one has to think about how healthy structures for political offices can be created. “We have to ask ourselves the question: What can you expect of a person and where do you set the limits?”

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