Sunset

The nature of Executive Mayoralties continues to exercise me. Wikipedia documents the fact that there are two authorities that have changed their mind and re-established council control after trialling an Executive Mayoralty. These are Stoke and Hartlepool.

Both offices were originally won by independents, with Stuart Drummond, originally standing as  H’Angus the Monkey winning three terms in Hartlepool before the office was abolished by referendum. In Stoke, the independent was defeated on his attempt to win a second term. Phil Burton-Cartledge, a blogger that I follow and resident of Stoke documented the Mayoralty’s sunset on his blog.

Stoke, uniquely,  adopted the Mayor & Manager model, and their first Mayor only served for two years and was defeated by the Labour Party at the end of his short 1st term. The Labour Mayor pursued the same dented shield policies on cuts i.e. cuts and council tax rises as the previous incumbent. The council and more importantly the Labour group were split with some Labour councillors taking their opposition into the chamber i.e. they voted against the Mayor’s budget, however it takes a ⅔ majority to overturn a Mayor’s budget and the Labour dissidents were disciplined by the West Midland Regional Labour Party. It should be added that some members of the factional majority were also unhappy with the system; one factor of course may be the lack of Cabinet, its roles, influence  and expenses. It seems that the Government abolished the Stoke model and that a choice had to be made between a Leader & Executive Mayor. I cannot discover if the referendum was called by Council Resolution or by petition; 9300 signatures would have been required. The people of Stoke, after a what Phil reports as  a desultory campaign in the referendum voted to return to a more democratic structure based on a collective leadership, with a Leader & Cabinet.

I think this is an interesting story offering evidence or insight on points 3, 5, 7 & 9 in my anti-mayor manifesto.

Sunset

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