A proposal to change the method of selecting the Town Mayor was an unexpected development at last Monday’s full meeting of the Whitchurch Town Council.Expectation was that the past practice of the current Mayor passing the role of honour to the Deputy would take place.
However, Deputy Mayor Cllr Linda Thomas explained that she was unable to take on the Mayoral position for the next year, “due to work and personal commitments”, adding that this included work on the proposed Neighbourhood Plan. (see Message from Cllr Thomas HERE). Then in a surprise move Cllr Thomas nominated the present Mayor Cllr Jackie Day to stand for a second term.
Change the system?
But a call to change the method of selection was then tabled.
Cllr Alan Vaughan proposed that all Councillors should be able to make nominations through the Town Clerk followed by a secret ballot to select the Mayor. In making the suggestion, Cllr Vaughan said he believed “it would be a fairer system and result in a more democratic process”. He would also like the same process to be in place for the election of the main Committee Chairmen.
Majority support change
In a full vote, the majority of the Councillors supported Cllr Vaughan’s proposal, and Councillors were asked to provide nominations for the next Mayor before the next full Council Meeting.
Residents of Whitchurch are of course also able to lobby the Councillors on which Councillor they would like as Town Mayor.
A full list of present Councillors is on the Town Council website at:
WHITCHURCH TOWN COUNCILLORS
Holding office twice
Few Town Mayors have stood for consecutive terms, the most recent being ten years ago when Cllr Barry Jackman was elected for 2002-2004. Barry also came back to hold the chain of office in 2011/12, before handing over to Cllr Day.
Others have been Gill Nethercott 1996-1999, Kenneth Clark 1992-1995, and John Clark 1989-92
The role of the Mayor is both a ceremonial and administrative one. The Mayor acts as the Chairman of the Whitchurch Town Council Meetings as well as being as a representative of the Town at various functions.
Their term of office lasts 12 months beginning in May each year.