Taken from the published minutes of last months full council meeting –
Question by members of the public under Council Procedure Rule 11.0
1) Sara Jane Trebar asked the following question –
“Now Watford Council is more politically balanced after the recent local elections
should councillors consider debating the retention of an elected mayor past 2018 and
to give Watford residents a yes/no vote alongside the full local council elections in
The following answer was provided by Councillor Watkin –
“We think it is better for the council to focus on how best to provide services to the
public and keep Watford as a successful town rather than looking inwards to our own
constitutional arrangements. In our experience the issues that the public wish the
council to debate are the services it provides that affect their daily lives, such as
refuse collection or parks and playgrounds, and how it can work to ensure our town
retains a thriving local economy and is a good place to live in.
The mayoral system is designed to cope with all potential compositions of the council
chamber. There are examples in other authorities of the mayor’s party having an
overwhelming majority of councillors, of an independent mayor who is not backed by
any political group, and almost all situations in between. Therefore I don’t believe the
make-up of the council has any direct bearing on the mayoral system.
There are provisions in the 2007 Local Government Act for instigating a referendum.
Whether or not one is held and whatever its outcome, constitutionally the mayoral
system would remain at least until the end of the current Mayor’s term of office. If the
mayoral system continues, the people of Watford will in 2018 be able to choose who
they consider the best person for the job, which may be a representative of any
political party or none – that is the great thing about democracy.”
I am interested to know your thoughts!