Fantasy Elected Mayor
On the 28/09/07 it has been decided by the people of Darlington we are going for an Elected Mayor, what would you do if elected. Join in and play Fantasy Elected Mayor;
Why I think an Elected Mayor would be good for Darlington;
Democracy, or a return to it.
This is what I would start off with.
We have it is true to say excellent Council services, they are rated highly, but this has really nothing to do with politics it is down to hard work of the staff.
The recent local election the share of the vote came out;
18.9% Liberal Democrat.
As Elected Mayor I would take this into account, after all the elected mayor is repesenting the Town, therefore my Cabinet would consist of;
3 New Labour
1 Business person elected by business people - Non Voting
1 voluntry Services person elected by that sector - Non Voting
All cabinet portfolio holders to hold a forum where they can be questioned directly by the public. They would also be questioned by scrutiny committees (this does not happen at the moment).
1 New Labour
Scrutiny would play a bigger part in council, where as at the moment scrutiny looks at things already on going, I would have scrutiny looking from the beginning, when a policy document is produced this is when scrutiny will start(prevention being better than cure).
As already stated portfolio holders will be questioned by scrutiny, very much like select committees do in Parliament, the Chairs of scrutiny committees will question the Mayor.
This would be looked at carefully, are there Councillors or others with particular skills/knowledge that can represent Darlington better than at present.
We in Darlington voted 7 - 1 against an elected regional assembly, with the help of local media setting up a phone poll, should we continue to send any representation to an Unelected, unaccountable regional assembly, if NO, then should we claim monies already paid back and any future share of monies going directly to Darlington. The same system could be used over the merging of services with Stockton.
As said this is what I would do, I do not believe there another way of making local government in Darlington more democratic, more consultative, and more inclusive and has more public appeal.
Anything done now will appear as to little to late, the present ruling party has let it be known that they have no desire to lose the control they have now. They may well offer other parties something, but will it be only until a referendum has decided whether or not to have an elected mayor, if a no vote is returned how long can the other parties expect to be part of the decision making process.
At this moment in time the ruling party are suggesting change, they will sell it as a change due to the Local Election Results and that they have listened to the people, this is an untruth, new government legislation requires these changes to be made, so do not be fooled. It offers none of the changes outlined above, the changes I feel would make a big difference to the people of Darlington.
An Elected Mayor is a big constitutional change, but it is one we should embrace, it is after all the future well being of Darlington we are talking about.