Tories want voters to have say on elected mayor
Last updated at 11:42, Thursday, 17 May 2012
COPELAND Tories are making a new demand for the borough to have an elected mayor who would usurp the powers of the leader.
The local Conservative Association has decided to renew the call for a ‘Copeland Champion’ with wide-ranging powers over policy and budgets, as well as hiring and firing members of the Executive.
The Tories insist that the Labour-controlled borough council is no more democratic than it was two years ago when moves for an elected mayor were fiercely resisted.
Tory Association chairman Stephen Haraldsen said: “Given that the Labour group aren’t likely to go back to committees, an elected mayor is our only viable option when the present arrangement has been shown clearly to be shoddy and a recipe for poor decision making.
“There is far too much power in one small clique, far too little discussions on major decisions.”
Copeland Council yesterday declined to respond to criticisms – only the ‘legal elements’ of having an elected mayor.
Chief executive Paul Walker said: “Copeland Council currently operates the strong leader and executive decision making model. Petitions for a referendum into an elected mayor must be carried out in specific manner as laid out in government and we would work to ensure this is the case.”
Copeland Conservative Association has the backing of David Moore, who leads the Conservative opposition on Copeland Council.
He said: “I believe in having a Copeland Champion as a rally point for the community which would also take the focus away from politics with a more independent person without the political baggage.”
Coun David Moore said: “We don’t want to cost the borough a great deal of money but it would have to be weighed against what it costs to have a leader and the expenses of running an executive. Sometimes also it is worth paying a little bit extra for the right person and for the best solution.”
The council held an on-line consultation but because there wasn’t a strong enough response to change it decided to stick to the present committee and executive structure.
Council leader Elaine Woodburn said an elected mayor would cost Copeland taxpayers up to £70,000 every year on top of an initial £60,000 for holding a referendum.
A petition bearing 2,798 signatures – five per cent of the electorate – would be needed before Copeland Council could call a referendum in order to gauge support.
First published at 11:10, Thursday, 17 May 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
In Liverpool the new elected mayor had just stood down as the Leader of the Council. In Salford they elected a Labour Party insider. In Copeland Elaine Woodburn would almost certainly be elected mayor if she stood - after all, Labour is re-elected year after year - resulting in more of the same at greater cost. So what would be the point exactly? Bring back the Committee system to keep a check on the leadership, and if you don't like the current regime - get out and vote for the opposition!
Whoever is voted into office will have been elected by us, not chosen by the few. It is better to have ownership of the process, therefore co-responsibility, than be dictated to. Whoever is voted into office will be by the will of the people, surely this is a better way than echoes of post-war Russia?
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