ROLE OF THE TOWN MAYOR – (CHAIRMAN)
The Mayor is elected by the full Council at the Annual General Meeting, held in May each year and serves for 12 months. The Mayor would usually be the Member who has carried out the duties of Deputy Mayor in the previous year. A new Deputy Mayor is also elected at this meeting.
The new Mayor makes a declaration of Acceptance of Office when accepting the Term of Office at the Annual General Meeting.
The Mayor’s term of office is for one year and during this time the Mayor will continue to be a member of the Council and presides over meetings of the Council.
The role of the Mayor is essentially ambassadorial and will represent the Town Council over a range of events and activities. The role of Mayor does not confer any powers to be exercised other than those at a Town Council meeting. During the civic year, the Mayor supports a wide variety of events throughout the Town Council area. The Mayor receives invitations to a range of events and every invitation is considered equally. If the Mayor cannot attend a function, the Deputy Mayor may attend on behalf of the Mayor.
- Holds a statutory post defined in law.
- Is a member of the Council and is elected annually.
- Has the authority at meetings and must be obeyed when issuing lawful direction or direction in line with Standing Orders.
- Is the interface between the public and Council.
- The one to welcome speakers and make them ‘feel at home’.
- Is to make sure the decision is clear for the Clerk to act upon.
The Chairman Should:
- Know that the agenda was put up in time and be familiar with business to be covered.
- Arrive in good time for meetings of the Council, adequately briefed and with all the necessary papers in correct order.
- Ensure the meeting is quorate.
- Start the meeting on time by declaring it open, and end it be clearly stating it closed and the time it ended.
- Know that he/she has no more statutory power than any other Councillor except that of the casting vote.
- Ensure that all points of view have a clear hearing.
- Keep the discussion to the point, and that it is relevant and ensure the Council deals with clear issues.
- Ensure the Council/Committee acts only within its terms of reference and/or legal powers and functions.
- Ensure compliance with standing orders, financial regulations, Council policies, etc.
- To ensure that where and when appropriate and allowable the Council takes a vote to exclude the public and press from Council meetings.
- Understand the principles of debate and voting (see Standing Orders and Good Councillor Guide).
- Remain impartial and not ‘guide’ Councillors to his/her desired decision.
- Ideally not allow the meeting to continue for more than 2 hours without a break (depending on Standing Orders).
- Create an atmosphere which encourages participation.
- Be in control of the meeting.
- Know that he/she cannot be a Committee of one.
- Respect and understand the role of the Clerk/RFO and other officers, and ensure that employment issues (e.g. performance, disciplinary matters), are only raised in Council Meetings when appropriate and in line with Council policy and employment laws.
- Co-operate with officers and Councillors.
- Act as a representative of the Council at civic or local events.
The Chairman on his own has no power to make decisions without the Resolution of the Council.
The Chairman cannot decide which items should appear on the Agenda for Meetings: The Clerk/RFO is responsible for the Agenda, apart from Extraordinary Meetings. Normal practice would be for the Clerk/RFO to consult with the Chairman when drawing up the Agenda to ensure that appropriate and necessary items are added.
The Chairman should not involve himself in the day to day administration of the Council, but can be a point of reference for officers if agreed by Council.
Handling Public Disturbances at a Meeting:
No-one is entitled to interrupt or obstruct the proceedings of the Council or its Committees. The Chairman should never argue or allow argument with an interrupter. If the public becomes disorderly it may eventually be necessary to close the meeting or adjourn to a more private place. It is, however illegal to decide to exclude the public from any future meetings. The press is in a privileged position inasmuch as its representatives must so far as possible be given facilities for taking their reports.
ROLE OF THE DEPUTY TOWN MAYOR
The Deputy Town Mayor will support the Town Mayor throughout the Mayoral year by representing them when they are not available. The Deputy will also attend certain Town Council civic functions in support of the Mayor when appropriate.
THE PARISH COUNCIL
Parish Councillors are elected by the electors of the Parish, every four years. A Councillor may also be returned by bye-election, co-option, appointment by the District Council or by return after a successful election petition. All Councillors are required to complete a Declaration of Acceptance of Office and to provide a written undertaking that they accept the Council’s Code of Conduct.
The council represents and serves the whole community. The council is responsible for the services it provides. It establishes policies for action and decides how money will be raised and spent on behalf of the community. It is responsible for spending public money lawfully and achieving the best value for money. Except in certain circumstances, council meetings are open to the public. The council as a body decides whether to work in partnership with other organisations and it often serves (through representatives) on other bodies. An individual Councillor, as in the case of the Chairman, cannot make a decision on behalf of the council so when working in partnership, Councillors must always remember that they represent the Council as a corporate body.