‘East Devon mayor’ set for axe
DISTRICT council chiefs are set to stick with the ‘status quo’ and scrap an idea to hand East Devon a directly elected mayor- despite 93% of constituents who had their say asking for change.
DISTRICT council chiefs are set to stick with the ‘status quo’ and scrap an idea to hand East Devon a directly elected mayor - despite 93% of constituents who had their say asking for change.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) said only 36 people from its electorate of 104,000 responded to a public consultation on whether to replace its current governance model of a leader, answerable to the majority party, with a mayor directly answerable to the people.
Sidmouth residents labelled the council executive board’s decision to vote against the mayor model on Wednesday as a “blithe dismissal of the democratic will.”
“Councillors are ignoring the democratic will of their electors,” said Derek Parry after the meeting. He said the response was so low because of a lack of publicity from the authority.
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An EDDC spokesperson said its consultation from October 14 to November 12 was advertised in the media.
Councillor Mike Green spoke in favour of an elected Mayor and questioned why there hadn’t been a significant expression of support for keeping a leader.
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He was the only board member to vote in favour of a mayor.
The board’s recommendation the system should stay the same is set to be rubber-stamped at a council meeting on Wednesday (December 8).
“Councillors made the point that the EDDC does not enjoy the confidence of the people, and, that the overwhelming majority want a referendum on the appointment of a mayor,” said resident Robert Crick. “Others said the consultation process had been inadequate.”
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 requires authorities operating with a leader model of executive to change its arrangements in accordance with a statutory timetable. A council decision must be made by December 31. New arrangements would, in theory, take effect after elections in May 2011. “The Government has indicated that it does not intend these changes will ever become law,” said an EDDC spokesperson.