Should the mayor of Ottery St Mary serve a fixed-term?
PUBLISHED: 12:46 15 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:46 15 March 2016
Councillor Roger Giles calls for issue to be addressed now
Ottery Town Council is set to review the mayor’s length of tenure following accusations from some members it is ‘out of step’ with public opinion.
The matter was initially raised in January by Councillor Peter Faithful, who suggested there should be a fixed-term for the post that has been held by Cllr Glyn Dobson (pictured) for nine years.
Members of the council’s human resources committee agreed the issue should be reviewed, but recommended this is done in line with future restructuring once a decision on the proposed formation of an independent West Hill authority has been reached.
The recommendation was carried by the full council at a meeting on Monday.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Roger Giles argued the issue should be addressed immediately.
He said: “All of the town councils in East Devon have a mayor or chairman who serves a fixed-term of office. Ottery Town Council is alone in not having a fixed-term of office.”
Cllr Giles referenced claims that Cllr Dobson was the only candidate prepared to do the job – but refuted this by saying others had wished to stand for mayor, but did not want to challenge a current incumbent. He added: “This council is out of step with all the other town councils in East Devon. Worse, I believe that it is out of step with public opinion in the parish. Being an Ottery town councillor is an honour and a privilege. Being the mayor or deputy mayor is an even greater honour and privilege. All the other town councils in East Devon recognise this and share the honour of being the first citizen.”
Cllr Dobson responded: “I have made it quite clear that if I get elected next time, it will be the last time.”
He agreed that the position probably should be time-limited, but argued that he has to stand for election each year and it could not get any more democratic than that.
Deputy mayor Ian Holmes added: “It’s the most democratic process, because, every year, everyone around the table gets to vote for who should be mayor. I think if people want that mayor, but cannot vote them back, then that’s undemocratic.”