One of the suggested benefits of having an elected mayor is that council decision making can be quicker and more focussed to deal with issues as they arise.
The council’s constitution gives the mayor considerable power to either make decisions himself or allow his cabinet members to make decisions. There is no need, under the rules to get the approval of a majority of councillors for many decisions; responsibility rests with the mayor and those he’s picked to serve in his cabinet. It is what they are paid to do. Councillors and members of the public are given the chance to question the decision maker and argue for an alternative course. Public meetings are set up for this scrutiny.
Last week the deputy mayor and portfolio holder for resources, Coun Roger Sutcliffe was due to attend a meeting to make a decision which would have provided much needed financial support to Mansfield Citizens’ Advice Bureau. In January council had voted unanimously for funds to be directed for this purpose but the mayor and Coun Sutcliffe have the power to say whether the money should be spent or not. Minutes before the meeting last week the members of the public and the councillor who were present were told Coun Sutcliffe would not be attending. Those present intended to hand over a petition signed by over 1,000 Mansfield people imploring the mayor to follow what council had decided and give financial support to both the CAB and Nottingham Credit Union. His absence showed astonishing contempt for all those to whom Coun Sutcliffe owes his positions and wages – you the voters. Just as importantly it has created further uncertainty as to whether the CAB can meet the need to provide vital advice services to those in Mansfield who are suffering a multitude of financial and housing problems as a result of the cost of living crisis facing so many. Eight months after council voted to support the CAB we’re still waiting for Coun Sutcliffe to make it happen. So much for a system that is supposed to streamline decision making and for an executive who avoids meetings where he might be asked some tricky questions.
l Saturday 19th October is an important date for your diaries. Throughout the day over 50 bands and solo artists, many from our district, will be showing off their talents at eight different venues around the town. All you’ll need is one wristband to get into all the events with all proceeds going to Oxfam. For more details go to the Oxjam facebook page, watch out for news in Chad or tune in to Mansfield 103.2.