Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 7, 2017

The Political Mayor, The Conscience Of The Council!

According to the Local Government Act 1989-Sect 73-Precedence of Mayor (1) The Mayor of a Council takes precedence at all municipal proceedings within the municipal district. (2) The Mayor must take the chair at all meetings of the Council at which he or she is present.

And the WLBC Constitution states “Role and function of the Mayor. The Mayor and the Deputy Mayor will be elected by the Council annually. The Mayor and in his/her absence, the Deputy Mayor will have the following uphold and promote the purposes of the Constitution, and to interpret the Constitution when necessary; 2 to preside over meetings of the Council so that its business can be carried out efficiently and with regard to the rights of councillors and the interests of the community; 3. to ensure that the Council meeting is a forum for the debate of matters of concern to the local community and the place at which members who are not on the Cabinet, are able to hold the Cabinet to account; 4. to promote public involvement in the Council’s activities; 5. to be the conscience of the Council; and 6. to attend such civic and ceremonial functions as the Council and he/she determines appropriate”.

Yes, believe it or not, the role and function of the WLBC mayor is and has been “to be the conscience of the Council” or “his or her moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behaviour”.

So if the latest WLBC savings suggestions as described in the Champion  [click to read], including a dilution or even loss of the mayoral presence throughout the borough, of the role of the Mayor are to be introduced, will the conscience of the council go with it? No great loss, you might think, if you are socially excluded by the lack of public transport all over the borough, where was the council conscience when that was created? A reader of the Champion wants rid of it altogether and if that entailed selling the mayoral baubles they are valued as “Civic Regalia: The Council owns a range of Civic regalia items including Mayoral Chains, Pendants and various other Chains and items of Office valued at £102,000. These items are used by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Civic functions and are valued every 5 years by a specialist firm. The last valuation was undertaken during the 2013/14 financial year and resulted in a revaluation increase of £28,000. There have been no other changes in asset values over the last 5 years”.

Is there any social conscience left in a council that takes our council tax and then introduces all these extra “fees” and could reduce the “Home Care Link” emergency response service? Does the council conscience really dictate that the cost for an alarm unit with call button, £3.00 per week for the vulnerable, with an initial installation fee (within the West Lancashire area) of £30.00, should be increased? WLBC states “Our Home Care Link emergency response system provides 24-hour help to council residents in sheltered housing schemes. It also provides a telecare lifeline alarm service to over 8,000 private properties, companies and public sector organisations”. It’s to be hoped WLBC will protect the sheltered housing aspect and increase the charges for these private users, including the companies that make profits while council tax payers receive “less for more”!

As for the other proposals, a “review of the way the council carries out street cleaning and grounds maintenance” will at least start from zero, given the current state of affairs?

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