SRG Ombudsman Roger Blum will step down at the end of March 2020, leaving the field to his successors. As became known in December 2019that Kurt Schöbi and Esther Girsberger will perform the task as a team in the future, SRG concealed a fact in the announcement that has now been confirmed by the Switzerland at the weekend was made public: The two new ombudsmen are the result of a botched election process.
Actually, the Public Council chooses the ombudsman from the applications received after a public call for applications. This is what happened last year when the successor to Blum was to be chosen. The lawyer and UBI vice-president Catherine Müller and a teacher from Aargau were elected. The candidates applied individually and independently of each other, as the call for applications did not take into account that the two ombudsmen must function as a team.
When the two elected officials met for the first time after the election, it was clear, according to Switzerland at the weekendthat they were "not compatible". The media-interested teacher subsequently withdrew. According to audience council president Susanne Hasler, it had been underestimated how important it was that the chemistry between the people had to be right and that they represented similar values in order to function as co-leaders. This was apparently not the case with Müller and the teacher.
Candidates were actively solicited
According to Hasler, it was not possible to find a new suitable candidate from the forty or so applications ("including students of media studies who would still have found a 50 percent position attractive"). Instead of launching a new, open call for applications, the audience council drew up a list of 16 names. Five of these were then invited to "rotation talks" - a kind of speed dating - with Catherine Müller, who had already been elected. The search was on for the ideal couple. Two of the chosen ones did not want to undergo the procedure and withdrew.
SRG's announcement on the new ombudsman team Girsberger/Schöbi did not state that the election had nothing to do with the public invitation to tender, nor that the ombudsman Müller, who was actually elected in the first round, was booted out in the second round.
In April, Blum's successors will take up their posts, each with a 40-percent salary. Susanne Hasler does not want to disclose how much they will earn. Switzerland at the weekend ...but he said it was a "professional position. However, it is a "specialist position".