Senate Syndicate

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Senatssyndicus , official designation Staatsrat , is the political official assigned to a senator in Hamburg in his capacity as president (head) of an authority ( ministry ). The office is comparable to a permanent state secretary in other German countries . Since 1978 the state councils have only been appointed as political officials and can be retired at any time.

Legal basis and function

The position of the Senate Syndici is regulated in Article 47 of the Constitution of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg . Thereafter, the Senate can appoint civil servants to advise and deal with its affairs. As a rule, they should have the qualification for higher administrative service. The Senate syndici take part in the meetings of the Senate with an advisory vote ( de senatu , without the Council of State's own voting rights), unless the Senate decides to meet without a Council of State (in individual cases, a meeting in senatu ).

If a Senate Syndicus is assigned tasks within an administrative authority or a Senate office, he is bound by the instructions of the responsible Senator. In terms of civil servant law, a Senate syndicus bears the official title "Council of State".

As political officials, the councils of state support and represent their respective senators and are also the highest officials of the respective senate authority or the senate office in their assigned departments.

As an advisory body, the Councils of State form the College of State Councils chaired by the head of the Senate Chancellery, who is also its spokesman. Just like individual senators, councils of state can in certain cases also pass Senate resolutions outside of Senate meetings (so-called Senate resolutions by disposition).

In order to provide relief and support, the Senate can set up Senate Commissions from certain Senators and State Councilors for various matters. Councilors of State also have voting rights in these commissions.

The councilors of state are now sometimes jokingly referred to as “syndicates”, even if the official title of Senate Syndic has been replaced by Council of State since 1970. However, the traditional name was retained in the constitution, as apparently no majority in the Hamburg citizenship could be found for a change.


Albert Krantz became Syndicus of the cities of Hamburg and Lübeck in 1493

The office of a Syndicus (or Syndikus ) existed since the early modern period . The first written mention dates from the year 1436. The previous temporary occupation of the office has been permanent since 1546. The council or later senate syndici were lawyers with doctoral or licentiate exams and not only advised the senate on legal issues, but also represented it in negotiations with foreign states as envoys and councilors. In contrast to the councilors, they were paid employees and could also come from abroad. In terms of protocol, they came after the mayors and before the senators. The secretaries of the law firm were at their side.

In the Senate, the Syndici (de Senatu) were on an equal footing with the Senators (in Senatu) until the Senate Act was changed in 1860, after which they were merely added. Their tasks were now limited to internal administration. From 1861 the Senate consisted of 24 members. Thereof 6 non-voting members consisting of 2 Syndici and 4 Senate secretaries. While the Senators were elected by the Hamburg citizenship (still for life) due to a constitutional amendment , the Senate appointed the secretaries and syndici as the highest Hamburg officials who were supposed to support the Senate in administrative work. The secretaries ( state secretary ) could rise to the syndic. They were also occasionally elected senators themselves. (see also Hamburg Senate 1861–1919 )

After 1919 the old titles Senate Secretary and Syndicus were still used. This traditional approach was reformed on June 24, 1920, and all Senate members who were not entitled to vote were given the newly created rank of Council of State . With the merger of the secretariat and syndicate (see also Hamburg Senate 1919–1933 ), the field of activity also shifted from being a pure senate advisor and employee to working in the authorities themselves. They were now civil servants and political representatives at the same time, for example as representatives with voting rights in the deputations , which could be retired at any time.

After the National Socialists came to power in 1933, the old State Councilors were gradually dismissed or retired (State Councilor Leo Lippmann , took his own life with his wife in Hamburg immediately before his deportation to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943). On March 8, 1933, Georg Ahrens , who had already led the coalition negotiations as the representative of Gauleiter Karl Kaufmann , was officially appointed to the new Senate Council. In the same month, on March 26, 1933, he rose to the Council of State. The Council of State formed by a law in July 1933 had completely different tasks and had nothing in common with its predecessors. Between 1938 and 1945 the highest senior officials of the newly created municipal administrations, including the mayors of Altona and Wandsbek, were given the name Senatssyndicus.

With the provisional constitution of Hamburg of May 15, 1946, the name Senatssyndicus reappears for the Syndici who are not entitled to vote in Senate meetings (probably also because the title of State Councilor had lost its luster during the Nazi era). They should be qualified to be legal officials of the higher administrative service and their number is limited to 6. In the final constitution of June 6, 1952, the term legal official and the limitation to six syndici are omitted, even if this number is actually retained for a long time. Their position initially developed more in the direction of a non-political professional civil service, as administrative experts without a chair and voice in the deputations and bound by instructions to the respective senator. At the same time, the "bourgeois" (non-party) Senate syndici could not be terminated and were therefore more independent of changing governments.

In 1970, through the amendment of the Hamburg Civil Servants Act, the official title for Senate Syndici (except in Article 47 of the Constitution of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg) was changed back to State Council and thus also adapted to the name in Bremen. Changes in the Hamburg Civil Servants Act of July 13, 1978 (HmbGVBl. P. 315, 326) made it possible for State Councilors to be temporarily retired at any time. Since then they have only been appointed as political officials. In 1988, Karl-Heinz Großmann, the last of the non-resignable State Councilors, left office voluntarily.

Since then, the number of state councils has also increased (as of 2020: 15 state councils), as there is no limit as in the Bremen constitution. The frequency of their layoffs has also increased.

See also

Web links

Commons : Syndics of Hamburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Draft for the twelfth law amending the Civil Service Act, explanatory part (Citizenship document 9/11, p. 2)
  2. State Center for Civic Education Hamburg (ed.): Hamburg in the Third Reich, seven articles , Hamburg 1998, p. 131.
  3. Councilors of State 15 Councilors of State support the Hamburg government in its work. Hamburg Senate, accessed June 8, 2020 .
  4. Hamburger Abendblatt of March 5, 2009 Record: Ole von Beust has so far dismissed 16 members of the State Council
  5. Hamburger Abendblatt of March 5, 2009 Number two in the authorities
  6. Culture Council: Councils of State on the ejection seat