New RBB boss Katrin Vernau should collect rent subsidy

Catherine Vernau
Despite a six-figure salary: the new RBB boss should collect a rent subsidy

Katrin Vernau, Interim Director of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB)

© Britta Pedersen / DPA

The RBB is in a crisis after the scandal surrounding the former director Patricia Schlesinger. Savings are announced. According to a report, the new boss Katrin Vernau will receive a six-figure salary as well as a rent subsidy.

Due to an imminent gap in financial planning, the crisis-ridden Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) is facing savings in the millions. According to its own statements, the public ARD broadcaster does not want to fill vacancies in the house for the next two years. There should be no redundancies.

RBB interim director Katrin Vernau, who is supposed to lead the broadcaster out of what is probably its worst crisis related to allegations of nepotism, did not rule out the possibility of individual programs being discontinued on TV or radio. Vernau announced by January a precise list of how the broadcaster’s financial planning is to be reduced by around 40 million euros in the contribution period that runs until 2024.

Vernau justifies rent subsidy with relocation

But now, of all people, Vernau, who is supposed to bring order to the finances of the RBB, is in the headlines – because of alleged additional spending.

Specifically, it is about a rent subsidy for the new director in the amount of 1000 euros, like that “Picture” reported. And with one Annual salary of 295,000 euros.

According to “Bild”, Vernau admitted that she received the rent subsidy. She justifies this with her move from Cologne to Berlin in September. “I live with two suitcases and could not have taken office until January,” she is quoted as saying.

In addition, Vernau uses one “Bahncard100” on account of the RBB to commute between Cologne and Berlin. But she also does without a company car and chauffeur, according to the report.

Lindenstraße actress Marie-Luise Marjan, social media comments

Criticism of Vernau’s rent subsidy at RBB

“There’s no justification for that,” says Christoph Reinhardt, representative of the freelancers, of “Bild” about the rent subsidy. “But Ms. Vernau doesn’t have a guilty conscience at all. That’s perhaps normal in the ARD boardroom.”

“I don’t understand why a rent subsidy is required for your salary. That’s the old RBB for me!” RBB editor Christoph Hölscher is quoted as saying.

Reinhardt: “The director would be well advised to waive the rent subsidy.” If she acts in the same logic as her predecessors, “you wouldn’t trust her to stand for a new beginning.”

The financial situation of the broadcaster also highlights the previous management around the director Patricia Schlesinger, who was fired without notice. Since the end of June, the RBB has been in a deep crisis because of allegations. In addition to Schlesinger, who has been director since 2016, the focus is on the resigned chief controller Wolf-Dieter Wolf. Both rejected allegations. The Berlin Attorney General is investigating. The presumption of innocence applies until the conclusion.

Consulting contract with ex-editor-in-chief also causes a stir

Meanwhile intervened Report by NDR and RBB journalists once again the controversial actions of the former top broadcasters regarding personnel policy and the awarding of consultancy contracts. The article published on the RBB website is about a consulting contract that RBB editor-in-chief Christoph Singelnstein, who retired early in spring 2021, and the broadcaster are said to have concluded after he left.

The consulting contract would be in addition to his lifelong entitlement to an annual pension of more than 100,000 euros and his statutory pension. In total, Singelnstein is currently receiving around 15,000 euros per month from RBB.

At the request of the German Press Agency, Singelnstein did not comment on this on Friday and referred to non-disclosure clauses in contracts.

The RBB confirmed the existence of a consulting contract. The editor-in-chief contract was originally concluded for a term from 2018 to 2023. When Singelnstein left the station prematurely at the age of 65, the employment relationship was terminated by mutual agreement. At the same time, the broadcaster wanted to secure Singelnstein’s expertise, which is how the consultancy contract came about.

Sources: “Image”, RBB, DPA


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