In May the council will either have a new style strong leader, elected by the voters in Thanet at the May election when we vote for the councillors, or it will have a new style strong leader chosen by the councillors.
One or the other has to happen because of an act of parliament passed by the government in 2007.
To decide which of these types of leadership the council will have, the council has to consult the voters to find out which type of council leadership they want, the council has two options for doing this set out in the act, one is to hold a referendum so that the voters can vote for which type of leadership they want, the other is for the council to hold a public consultation to determine what the voters want.
The council has decided, to decide what the voters want, by holding a public consultation, this consultation has been in progress now for eleven weeks and has determined the views of six voters.
To answer the question in the title of this post I don’t intend to present an argument, but instead to ask another question.
Do you think that the leader of the council, that we get after the May elections, will be the same person as the leader we would have got, had the council chosen to decide what the voters want by holding a referendum?
One of the problems with the council’s leadership is accountability, it is very difficult to elicit a response from the current leader and I believe this may be to do with the way he was selected. The following is a quote from the council’s website.
“A strong and stable democracy relies on people using their votes. By voting, you can hold your elected representatives accountable.
Make sure you have your say. Votes are power.”
Click on the link for the page if you want to read the rest of this http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/cllrs_democracy__elections/elections_and_voting.aspx
The council officers have published their advice about how the councillors should decide this issue at next weeks council meeting, it is a very odd document, bits of it just don’t make sense, for example:
“8.1 As mentioned earlier in the report the Council must selected its preferred political governance arrangements have regard to the public consultation responses as well as the extent to which the proposals, when implemented, would be likely to assist in securing continuous improvement in the way in which the Councils functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.”
Does it mean, select or have selected. I think the difference is make their mind up at the meeting, or come to the meeting with their minds already made up?
4.1 Para 2 “In considering how to approach these requirements you will wish to have regard to the circumstances of today, including both the priority of cutting out all wasteful spending and the Government’s commitments to allow councils to return to the committee system, should they wish to, and on elected mayors.”
Does it mean the governments commitments, the committee system and or elected mayors are wasteful spending?
Here the rest of it read it for your self if you want.