The picture on the wall behind the mayor’s desk was chosen with care by jens korn. A float hangs with all its body weight on the bar of its float hook. The scene is intended as a reminder that "I have to put my heart and soul into my office", says korn. For the past year, the 42-year-old has been mayor of wallenfels. He spoke to frankischer tag about demographic change, family lunches and what you can learn from markus soder.
The picture behind the desk is one of three rough-format photographs from the 1930s that the new mayor has hung in his office. All show scenes of wallenfels floats on the main near wurzburg. The one where a whole squad struggles to keep a plane on course calls for teamwork: "even a mayor can’t do anything on his own." The last one shows flober balancing on tree trunks that clearly divide the image diagonally. Having just as clearly structured content should be good for a mayor, too, says korn.
Mr. Korn, until a year ago you wanted to be mayor. Can you still understand that?
Jens korn: more than ever before. I enjoy this task very much.
Has your life changed??
It is even a completely different. And this despite the fact that i have been second mayor for years, have experience in local politics and know what a mayor has to do.
In the past years i first worked in bayreuth (IHK, anm. D. Red.) and then worked in coburg (brose). I came home in the evening and then attended many meetings in wallenfels and in the district. It’s different now. Better. Because although mayor is a very time-consuming job, I have more time with my family: just having lunch with my son and my wife two or three times a week. The fact that this is possible now means a lot to me.
As mayor, can you draw on experience from your previous jobs?? You were, among other things, head of office for state minister markus soder…
Yes, of course. I studied law, which certainly doesn’t hurt in the mayor’s office. Whether it’s running a city council meeting, dealing with building law issues or sorting out the subject matter of neighborhood disputes.
My work at the municipal political association in munich has given me a lot of know-how and a good network. And of course, working for markus soder prepares you for the office of mayor in every respect. Both in terms of content and the question: how do i communicate politics??
What do you mean?
Soder has a flair for issues and how to address and communicate them. Politics should never be made primarily with the goal of looking good in public – but I also have to approach unpopular issues in such a way that they don’t immediately meet with rejection.
Can you relate this to wallenfels topics?
In some form on that of demographic change. We are not allowed to throw sand in the eyes of the burgers, but we have to communicate with a sure instinct. You have to make people understand that major changes are imminent. We can’t stop them completely, but we have to shape and mitigate them together.
With the keyword demography, that of vacancy is not far away. This also exists in the center of wallenfels.
Yes. And if we don’t manage to bring life back into the center of town, then that’s a huge problem for wallenfels. But there is, for example, the idea of a redevelopment cooperative in the upper rodach valley. That could take a key position. We have forces here that can make a difference – it’s just a matter of bringing them together.
Are there things you have yet to learn as a mayor??
Clear. That I have to follow through on the things that I set out to do. Sometimes less is more: focus on three or four core points and less ornamentation – i certainly still have to practice that.
What is the most important core issue you are pushing right now??
In addition to demographics, we are also looking at urban redevelopment. This, in turn, is one way we can meet and shape change. We are starting now with the church environment. And this year, we also started work on the marketplace, because we wanted to get a planning report off the ground.
Where are we still lacking?
On the subject of the flobe, I have so far had to take the roughest jolt: because the reservoir cannot be realized in the planned way (we reported, anm. D. Red.).
Is there an alternative or compromise idea for the dust basin?
Not yet. We also do not have a final report yet. It is really difficult.
The indoor swimming pool, schragstrich, the school gymnasium in wallenfels is in need of renovation…
There are vague ideas of what could be done. From the revival of the swimming pool to its use as a gymnastics and table tennis hall to a generation-indoor-activity park. It is on the priority list but not at the top.
What is the status of broadband expansion in the schnaid district??
It is not only the district of schnaid. We have decided to expand broadband in wallenfels and in schnaid – although the west of wallenfels is already very well served in some areas. We are in the middle of the tender. It’s taking longer than we originally thought, because a lot of bavarian communities want to expand and that leads to capacity problems. The tender will probably last until june/july. Only then can we make a decision in the city council.
Where do you see long-term potential for wallenfels??
We are constantly working on the issue of flooring. We will significantly improve the situation in schnappenhammer – at the start of the flobe. There will be more offers for flobgaste. We will also try to establish the floben stronger as a brand, with new logo. Apart from that, we need to make better use of our timber wealth and our local timber expertise. It may be a lofty goal, but perhaps we can achieve an affiliation with a scientific institution that will help us be more innovative and thus keep more value added in the region. However, we want to strengthen not only the wood sector, but the regional economy in general.
Like for example?
On 8. May there will be the education fair in the upper rodach valley at the education center. 20 companies and organizations will be there: from small service providers to the very big employers. With events like this, we want to get young people away from the view that there are no career prospects in the upper rodachtal valley. We have great companies with great opportunities!
The questions were asked by hendrik steffens