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    In this essay, the author is looking for pioneering local administrators in the Netherlands who dared to push existing boundaries. However, the story starts in Great Britain where progressive liberals under the label ‘municipal socialism’ proceeded to provide public utilities through municipal governments rather than private enterprises. Their example was adopted by the so-called ‘radicals’ in Amsterdam led by Wim Treub. ‘Aldermen socialism’ with Floor Wibaut in Amsterdam as its most important representative, took it a step further. Their aim for a welfare municipality anticipated the later welfare state. After the Second World War we also saw some strong local administrators who in their own way strived for changes in their municipalities. After 1970 the phenomenon of ‘urban renewal’ led to a new flourishing of ‘aldermen socialism’ in the Netherlands with Jan Schaefer (in Amsterdam) as its most appealing figurehead. Since 2000, we have been in a new era of dualism, citizen participation and devolution that has produced new 'boundary pushers', which generated interest abroad (see the book on mayors by Benjamin Barber). At the end of the article, the author takes a look into the future. Current global problems also confront municipalities and they require local administrators with a good mix of political leadership, new civic leadership, inspiring commissioning and good stewardship. This essay is written for the ‘Across boundaries’ annual conference of the VNG (the Association of Netherlands Municipalities founded in 1912) held in Maastricht (in the far south of the Netherlands) in 2018.


Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    For aldermen in Dutch municipalities, ‘integrity’ increasingly seems to be an important factor causing their downfall. A lot of aldermen have resigned in the recent years because of ‘integrity’ and invariably local and national media were actively involved in this process. This article deals with the question of the role of the media in integrity affairs involving aldermen that have to resign. To answer this question, the authors analysed ten affairs that occurred in 2014 in which an alderman had to resigned (forced or voluntarily) because of integrity issues. The analysis shows that local media, regardless of how small they may be and how limited their means, often report extensively about integrity issues. In some cases, local media even act as accountability forums that call these aldermen to account. In other cases, the coverage in local media leads to further questions and calls for political accountability in the municipal council. Sometimes the media ‘merely’ report on the debates between the municipal council and the municipal board, but by doing so magnify the impact of an affair in the local community. In this way, the media fulfil their democratic role as watchdogs of local democracy, a role in which they bark loudly, often persistently and sometimes venomously about (alleged) integrity affairs.


Peter Schokker LLM MA
P. Schokker LLM MA is onderzoeker en adviseur bij het Bureau Integriteit BING.

Dr. Thomas Schillemans
Dr. T. Schillemans is universitair hoofddocent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO).
Artikel

Hoe korter, des te langer?

Over het verband tussen coalitieakkoorden en conflicten in gemeenten

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2015
Auteurs Jacomijn Visser BSc, Dr. Hans Vollaard en Dr. Frits Meijerink
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Dutch municipality of Leiden used to be a rather ‘politically troublesome’ municipality, but after the formulation of a short coalition agreement during the 2010 to 2014 term of office, for the first time in a long while, no alderman was sent away. So, could short coalition agreements help to diminish the number of political conflicts, so that aldermen can remain in office for a longer period? In the first place, the answer to this question is important from a societal point of view because in the Netherlands an increasing number of aldermen are sent away. In the second place, it is important from an academic point of view because there is a lack of studies into local coalition agreements. In the third place, it is important because the analysis of the length of coalition agreements and the number of conflicts in almost all Dutch municipalities in the period 2010 to 2014 offers a good opportunity to test the contradictory expectations on the relationship between coalition agreements and political conflicts in Dutch municipalities at a national level. From the analysis, the authors conclude that there is a relationship between a high number of coalition parties and a large municipality, on the one hand, and longer coalition agreements, on the other hand. The length of the coalition agreements is not necessarily related to the number of conflicts measured by the number of aldermen sent away for political reasons. It is clear that the higher the number of coalition parties, the more conflicts there are likely to be, which is not an inviting prospect considering the ongoing fragmentation of municipal councils.


Jacomijn Visser BSc
J. Visser BSc MA deed een bachelor Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Leiden en een master Nederland-Duitsland Studies aan de Radboud Universiteit te Nijmegen. In 2014 kreeg ze de J.Th.J. van den Berg-prijs voor haar bachelorscriptie. Ze liep stage bij de gemeente Weeze (Duitsland).

Dr. Hans Vollaard
Dr. J.P. Vollaard is universitair docent Nederlandse en Europese politiek binnen het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.

Dr. Frits Meijerink
Dr. F.G.J. Meijerink is universitair docent op het terrein van de statistiek binnen het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.
Diversen

‘Maar ze hebben er wel over nagedacht’

Over de rol van gezag bij het voorkomen van vijandigheid jegens politieke ambtsdragers

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2015
Auteurs Dr. Niels Karsten
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The aggression and violence towards political office-holders underline the importance of rethinking public authority. This essay contains an exploration of contemporary sources of authority for political office-holders and especially local executives. This is done on the basis of a review of the literature and an analysis of empirical research in this area. After an exploration of the sources of authority for Dutch mayors and aldermen, these sources of authority are related towards aggression and violence towards political office-holders with the help of the political theory of Chantal Mouffe. Based on this exploration the author argues that political office-holders who invoke generally accepted principles, values and norms, or who use personal sources of authority, are more favorable in the struggle against aggression and violence than other local executives who invoke institutional or delegated sources.


Dr. Niels Karsten
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Tilburg University.
Artikel

Krachtig en kwetsbaar

De Nederlandse burgemeester en de staat van een hybride ambt

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2014
Auteurs Dr. Niels Karsten, Dr. Linze Schaap en Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article describes, on the basis of a broad empirical research, the development of the office of mayor since 2002 (the year of the introduction of a dualist local system in the Netherlands) and the present state of the office. It shows a fundamental change in the office during the last decade and how the already existing hybrid nature of the office has continued to grow since 2002. The article describes the effects of this hybridization and identifies, on the basis of this description, eight power lines and vulnerabilities of the office of mayor. The authors relativize a number of issues that are frequently problematized in relation to the office of mayor, but they also point to new concerns amongst mayors. According to the mayors for example the presidency of the council and the presidency of the board of mayor and aldermen can be combined quite easily in practice. Mayors however, and with good reason, are concerned about the vulnerability of their authority and the sustainability of their neutral position ‘above the parties’, their most important source of authority. For this reason a reorientation of the office of mayor in the Netherlands is needed. This reorientation should start with an answer to the question which roles the mayor has to play in Dutch local government.


Dr. Niels Karsten
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Tilburg University.

Dr. Linze Schaap
Dr. L. Schaap is universitair hoofddocent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Tilburg University.

Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks
Prof. dr. F. Hendriks is hoogleraar en onderzoeksdirecteur aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Tilburg University.
Artikel

Hoe word je wethouder? Een onderzoek naar de transparantie en het democratisch gehalte van de wethoudersvoordracht

Een onderzoek naar de transparantie en het democratisch gehalte van de wethoudersvoordracht

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2014
Auteurs Julien van Ostaaijen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article addresses the question how aldermen are selected and nominated and how this process is related to a number of democratic values like popular influence and transparency. The central question is how one becomes an alderman in the Netherlands. To answer this central question a document analysis has been carried out and 137 interviews with aldermen have been held in 77 municipalities that were selected on geographical dispersion and number of inhabitants. The research shows that the process until the appointment of aldermen is little transparent and democratic for the outside world. In the large majority of the cases aldermen are asked an nominated from within a political party. The road to becoming an alderman is not closed, in principle everyone can become an alderman, but it is also not transparent and accessible for everyone. For this the selection and nomination is too much tied up to and decided in political party networks. However, gradually changes occur in this closed party bastion, because now parties more often are forced to look for suitable candidates outside the party.


Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is werkzaam als onderzoeker en docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur (Tilburg University).
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