Time to take on council

First published in Letters

TWO recent events within Warrington Borough Council’s corridors of power (the ongoing dispute within the Labour group culminating in the summoning of police to evict a councillor from a meeting, and the inability to find a full time chief executive), lead me to believe that now is the time to shake up the cosy political cartels that govern us.

This town deserves better than a ruling group sanctioned by its own national Labour party, and someone who can only offer us four days a week and who has previously said a full time role as chief executive was not in his life plan. Hardly surprising since Professor Broomhead has 13 other directorships to occupy his time.

Now seems an opportune moment to try the elected Mayor and cabinet executive model for local government. Mayors decide the size of their cabinet, appoint members and decide how, and to what extent, executive functions are delegated.

The Local Government Act 2000 requires a local authority to organise a referendum on whether to have a directly elected Mayor if five per cent of the electorate sign a petition calling for a referendum. Of course all the usual suspects might put their hats in the ring should a referendum be successful, but anyone standing for election on the basis that they would ensure a more politically balanced executive might secure a considerable and majority vote.

Who knows, we might even attract those with organisational provenance from outside the normal political and local government spheres.

There are arguments for and against local Mayors but in the case of Warrington Borough Council could anything be worse than what we have? If it didn’t work at least we tried and it could be changed in four years.

If anyone would like to help organise a petition requesting a referendum then I’d urge them to contact me via the Guardian.

Richard Buttrey Stockton Heath

Comments (4)

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3:46pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Nick Tessla says...

After what happened to Councillor Bennett , you want to risk giving someone like Terry O'Neill or Peter Carey even more power - are you joking?
After what happened to Councillor Bennett , you want to risk giving someone like Terry O'Neill or Peter Carey even more power - are you joking? Nick Tessla
  • Score: 2

12:21am Sun 19 Jan 14

hexaflexagon says...

Don't get me wrong I would share such concern if I thought that what you fear was likely. However I honestly don't believe that a new approach along the lines mentioned could possibly result in a worse arrangement than the one we have. Already the triiumvarate have things pretty well stitched up. Someone standing who pledges to put together a more balanced and consensual driven approach must be in with a good chance of winning. There must be good private sector managers out there who wouldn't turn their noses up at a salary in excess of £K 135. We have everything to gain.

I'm keen to move this forward and am interested in how we can make it happen. I'm less interested in unfounded problems and reasons why it shouldn't.
Don't get me wrong I would share such concern if I thought that what you fear was likely. However I honestly don't believe that a new approach along the lines mentioned could possibly result in a worse arrangement than the one we have. Already the triiumvarate have things pretty well stitched up. Someone standing who pledges to put together a more balanced and consensual driven approach must be in with a good chance of winning. There must be good private sector managers out there who wouldn't turn their noses up at a salary in excess of £K 135. We have everything to gain. I'm keen to move this forward and am interested in how we can make it happen. I'm less interested in unfounded problems and reasons why it shouldn't. hexaflexagon
  • Score: -1

3:18pm Sun 19 Jan 14

comwgn says...

Lets just vote out all current councillors get a new lot in who cannot do much worse.
Lets just vote out all current councillors get a new lot in who cannot do much worse. comwgn
  • Score: -3

11:45am Thu 23 Jan 14

SAC_in_Warrington says...

comwgn wrote:
Lets just vote out all current councillors get a new lot in who cannot do much worse.
I don't think that your, do-it-the-way-we-hav
e-always-done-it approach is going to work this time and I consider the result speaks for its self. The current Warrington Borough Council is unredeemable in its current form. The suggested referendum is a sign of hope on the horizon with a perfect opportunity for Warrington Residents, Employers, Commerce, Science and Industrial sectors all contributing. I would support the action as proposed in the article being commented on and will attend a public meeting, although i will not be attending if it is anyway going to be a party political meeting I have sure had enough of that utter nonsense.
[quote][p][bold]comwgn[/bold] wrote: Lets just vote out all current councillors get a new lot in who cannot do much worse.[/p][/quote]I don't think that your, do-it-the-way-we-hav e-always-done-it approach is going to work this time and I consider the result speaks for its self. The current Warrington Borough Council is unredeemable in its current form. The suggested referendum is a sign of hope on the horizon with a perfect opportunity for Warrington Residents, Employers, Commerce, Science and Industrial sectors all contributing. I would support the action as proposed in the article being commented on and will attend a public meeting, although i will not be attending if it is anyway going to be a party political meeting I have sure had enough of that utter nonsense. SAC_in_Warrington
  • Score: -1

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