I have been posting about an elected mayor of Thanet for a while now and now it looks as though a petition for a mayoral election is imminent, Malcolm Kirkaldie is a man to persevere once he gets the bit between the teeth.
There is a lot of confusion about what an elected mayor is, I and many of the other local people I have spoken to about the issue were pretty vague about what one is, I found the Local Government Network website sets this out clearly, click on the link to go there. http://www.nlgn.org.uk/public/elected-mayors/mayoral-briefing/
I have also been trying to find out what local councillors and council candidates think about this, partly because they would have to work under an elected mayor and partly, as some of them are likely to stand as mayoral candidates.
Dave Green has posted about this subject on his blog today at http://eastclifframsgate.blogspot.com/2009/02/elected-mayor-for-thanet.html and seems to have come out broadly in favour.
My own feeling are that it is time to try a leader of Thanet District Council who is elected by us the electorate, rather than the system we have at the moment which is broadly speaking. A leader appointed by the cabinet and a cabinet appointed by the leader. I believe that this rather contradictory state of affairs has lead to many of Thanet’s problems.
At the moment we need someone leading the council who is a person where the buck stops, hopefully also a charismatic leader to further Thanet’s prospects in and represent us in a way that we feel comfortable with.
Many of us were unhappy with the China Gateway Tesco bag debacle and indeed three Conservative councillors withdrew their support for the cabinet because of it. It would appear that, at best far to close a relationship developed between some senior cabinet members, senior council officers and a developer.
It is also possible that unrealistic promises made to the developer have been a contributory factor in the fall of their share price to all but nothing.
Other big issues like Thanet Earth, Manston Airport Expansion, the huge amount of resources being put into modern art in Margate, the shopping experience in Margate and Cliftonville, have problems that require a firm hand on the tiller.
The picture is ABC Kempe “The Top Hat Mayor of Ramsgate”, back when we had town councils in the days before TDC eccentric charismatic and the buck definitely stopped with him.
He is staring work on the WW2 air raid tunnels, that saved so many local peoples lives.