THE Mayor of Worcester is embroiled in a new controversy - after cancelling his first major engagement due to a HOLIDAY.
Councillor Alan Amos has postponed a major civic service, a yearly tradition to welcome the new 'first citizen' into office, despite more than 100 invites already going out to people across the county.
The annual bash brings together the likes of judges, magistrates, former mayors, community leaders, councillors, other dignitaries and VIPs from around Worcestershire.
Staff were already well underway with the preparations and 110 letters had gone out so far to invite guests to the event, which was scheduled for Worcester Cathedral on Sunday, June 22.
The date for it was set back in January.
Cllr Amos has a holiday planned and told the city council he couldn't do it on Thursday, leading to 110 cancellation letters having to be sent out and scores of emails going to other invitees saying it was postponed due to "unforeseen circumstances".
Several Labour councillors had already pledged to boycott the service after Cllr Amos quit the party last week before voting the Conservatives into power and getting the chains in return.
Councillor Paul Denham, last year's deputy mayor, said: "Large numbers of invitations have been sent out well in advance to judges, magistrates, former mayors and other VIPs around the county.
"These will all now need to be written to again to withdraw the invitation and to re-invite them to a new date.
"This will cost taxpayers money in both staff time and postal costs, and some will no longer be able to come given the short notice."
A spokesman for Worcester City Council said the main costs are the staffing time and the letters, which went out in the second class post.
Cllr Amos said: "It's been postponed and as soon as we've got a new date everyone will know.
"We haven't currently got a new date for the service but hope to announce it soon."
MIKE LAYLAND COMES TO MAYOR'S SIDE
ONE of Worcester's most famous sons has leapt to the defence of Cllr Amos - saying fallouts are commonplace in politics.
Mike Layland, who was handed the Freedom of the City back in March, said he "doesn't know what all the hysteria is about".
The veteran former councillor, 77, spent 44 years in public life and first got elected in 1966 before quitting Labour himself to become an independent.
He said it was just "politics", and reckons the new city mayor should shrug off the criticism.
"These things happen, it's just politics, people fall out all the time," he said.
"Personally I don't know what all the hysteria is about, if we were all independent it'd be better for the city.
"I don't want politics in local government anyway, if you had people elected to no party you'd have less fallouts.
"Good luck to Alan - I was an independent and it was hard work, but I got there.
"When I left Labour they'd say to me 'you always vote with the Conservatives' but if you look at my record, there were many times I voted with Labour.
"I think he'll be a good mayor."
The city's lone Green Councillor Neil Laurenson took to Twitter yesterday to criticise Cllr Amos.
He wrote: "Yes, deal between Alan Amos and the Tories makes me embarrassed to be a councillor. Why bother?"
PETITION LAUNCHED TO KICK NEW MAYOR OUT
A DISGRUNTLED protestor has launched a new petition calling upon Worcester's controversial new mayor to resign.
Yesterday morning a member of the public went onto the Ipetitions website to set it up.
Several councillors and community groups across Worcester have been sent emails altering them to the petition, which calls upon Cllr Alan Amos to quit as city mayor and 'vacate his seat for Warndon', where he remains an independent.
He is next up for election in Warndon in 2016.
Among the signatures to appear on it so far are from Noel Kennedy, a campaigner for the homeless in Worcester, Matt Reynolds, a former council candidate in Worcestershire and Cllr Richard Udall, the chairman of Worcestershire County Council's Labour group.
It is currently anonymous but your Worcester News knows the identity of its creator.
Cllr Amos has refused to respond to criticism from what he calls "anonymous people".
"People can say what they like on the internet, if they are anonymous why would I bother responding to them," he said.
It also emerged yesterday that Cllr Amos' resignation from Worcester Labour Party means he is no longer part of the county council's opposition Labour group.
At County Hall he held the position of Labour's deputy leader, but will now sit alone.
It means he has been kicked off one of the council's key committees, the economy and environment scrutiny panel, which debates issues like traffic congestion.