Plea to change the rules to stop another Worcester 'murky mayor' repeat

Plea to change the rules to stop another Worcester 'murky mayor' repeat

Councillor Alan Amos, the Mayor of Worcester

Councillor Neil Laurenson, Worcester's lone Green city councillor

First published in News
Last updated
Worcester News: Tom Edwards Exclusive by , Political Reporter

CALLS are being made to change the rules at Worcester City Council - in a bid to prevent any embarrassing repeats of the 'Mayorgate' saga.

The city's lone Green politician says it is time for a permanent change to prevent anyone becoming the mayor based on backroom deals or pure personal ambition.

Councillor Neil Laurenson wants the entire process changed - and is suggesting that selecting a mayor based on seniority could be the ideal solution.

Your Worcester News can reveal how Cllr Laurenson is planning talks with the council's legal expert over altering the constitution - and the idea is gaining popularity from other politicians, who say it is worthy of consideration.

While the change would be unprecedented in Worcester - where each year the mayor is currently decided ad-hoc - other councils have routinely selected their first citizens based purely on length of service.

Cllr Laurenson's call follows the saga of Mayor of Worcester Councillor Alan Amos, who quit Labour four weeks ago before voting in a new-look Tory administration 48 hours later.

On the same night he was voted in by the Conservatives as city mayor, which led to fierce criticism about the historic role being denigrated.

Cllr Laurenson said: "We need to do something to stop this whole business ever occurring again.

"Across the country there are different ways of choosing a mayor, one way is based on seniority so it goes to the longest serving councillor.

"I don't want a repeat of what's gone on and if we could change the constitution it would be one positive out of this."

In Lancaster, for example every December the longest serving councillor is sent a letter from the chief executive inviting them to become the new mayor from May.

Scores of other councils do the same, and in Blackpool the system has been used since 1974.

Oxford City Council follow the same example, while in York the position is shared fairly in proportion to the number of councillors from each party.

In York each year the parties get one point for each councillor, and the party with the highest score can nominate any politician with at least four years service.

The mayor's score is then reset to zero, ensuring the position is shared around.

Some town halls base it on unbroken consecutive years in office but many others take into account a councillor's total time served, so they are not punished for taking time out or losing their seat.

Councillor Liz Smith, Worcester's lone Liberal Democrat, said: "It's an interesting idea, I would welcome a firm policy which would seem to be fair."

Labour group leader Councillor Adrian Gregson said he was "open minded" about any suggestions, while Tory Councillor Marc Bayliss, the city's deputy leader, said: "I don't mind considering the issue but I think total service is what should matter."

TOP FIVE LONGEST SERVING COUNCILLORS (based on total time served)

Roger Berry - 38 years (71-76, 80-95, 96-current)

Derek Prodger - 32 years (82-current)

Robert Rowden - 23 years (91-current)

Adrian Gregson - 22 years (92-current)

Liz Smith - 21 years (90-00, 03-current)

* If former city mayors were taken off the list, Adrian Gregson would be first in line, because the other four featured above have all held the historic office once before.

* What do you think? Leave your comments below or email te@worcesternews.co.uk and your feedback will feature in the newspaper.

Comments (10)

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3:49pm Wed 25 Jun 14

CJH says...

Is Amos still on holiday? Has he actually carried out ANY duties as mayor yet? Has he claimed any expenses yet? Perhaps he could job share with Lord Lucan...
Is Amos still on holiday? Has he actually carried out ANY duties as mayor yet? Has he claimed any expenses yet? Perhaps he could job share with Lord Lucan... CJH
  • Score: 6

3:49pm Wed 25 Jun 14

3thinker says...

It works elsewhere.

It de-politicises role.

Linking it to length of service would also mean it plays a role in rewarding public service.

What's not to like about it?
It works elsewhere. It de-politicises role. Linking it to length of service would also mean it plays a role in rewarding public service. What's not to like about it? 3thinker
  • Score: 2

3:51pm Wed 25 Jun 14

CJH says...

Oh, and just because someone has 'served' for considerable years does not mean that we want them as mayor! Anyone on that list catch your eye???
Oh, and just because someone has 'served' for considerable years does not mean that we want them as mayor! Anyone on that list catch your eye??? CJH
  • Score: 6

4:38pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Ted Elgar says...

Excellent idea.
I presume Cllr Bayliss saying he will "consider the matter" isn't just him fobbing the idea off in the patronising assumption that the people of Worcester will stop worrying about political corruption in their town once they have some new swings and the bins have been emptied?
Excellent idea. I presume Cllr Bayliss saying he will "consider the matter" isn't just him fobbing the idea off in the patronising assumption that the people of Worcester will stop worrying about political corruption in their town once they have some new swings and the bins have been emptied? Ted Elgar
  • Score: 5

4:45pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Ted Elgar says...

@CJH Sometimes the most reliable candidate for a post is the one who does not seek power.

280 signatures so far.. anyone know if Alan is back off holiday yet? Once he is I will email a few copies of the pdf out to the great and good of Worcester.
http://ipt.io/rvud
@CJH Sometimes the most reliable candidate for a post is the one who does not seek power. 280 signatures so far.. anyone know if Alan is back off holiday yet? Once he is I will email a few copies of the pdf out to the great and good of Worcester. http://ipt.io/rvud Ted Elgar
  • Score: 4

5:45pm Wed 25 Jun 14

CJH says...

Ted Elgar wrote:
@CJH Sometimes the most reliable candidate for a post is the one who does not seek power.

280 signatures so far.. anyone know if Alan is back off holiday yet? Once he is I will email a few copies of the pdf out to the great and good of Worcester.
http://ipt.io/rvud
Appointing the longest serving can exclude 'new blood' from the position of mayor. It's just shared amongst a few old hands. We need someone with a new viewpoint, who hopefully has no 'baggage', and has not used underhand methods to get the job. Regarding Amos, I certainly don't want him representing Worcester. Gold digging at its very worst.
[quote][p][bold]Ted Elgar[/bold] wrote: @CJH Sometimes the most reliable candidate for a post is the one who does not seek power. 280 signatures so far.. anyone know if Alan is back off holiday yet? Once he is I will email a few copies of the pdf out to the great and good of Worcester. http://ipt.io/rvud[/p][/quote]Appointing the longest serving can exclude 'new blood' from the position of mayor. It's just shared amongst a few old hands. We need someone with a new viewpoint, who hopefully has no 'baggage', and has not used underhand methods to get the job. Regarding Amos, I certainly don't want him representing Worcester. Gold digging at its very worst. CJH
  • Score: 6

7:01pm Wed 25 Jun 14

liketoknow says...

we need someone honest, fair, popular. not a politician then.
we need someone honest, fair, popular. not a politician then. liketoknow
  • Score: 0

5:40am Thu 26 Jun 14

Pomygranit says...

What is wrong with the existing policy? It's just the likes of Simple Simon, Bumbling Baylis and Alan the Perv lowering the standards of politics in Worcester.

We have now attained Rotten Borough status in the current Private Eye.

Well done to all three of the above
What is wrong with the existing policy? It's just the likes of Simple Simon, Bumbling Baylis and Alan the Perv lowering the standards of politics in Worcester. We have now attained Rotten Borough status in the current Private Eye. Well done to all three of the above Pomygranit
  • Score: 2

11:00am Thu 26 Jun 14

liketoknow says...

does it have to be political, why can't we just choose someone who has served the community in some outstanding way ?
does it have to be political, why can't we just choose someone who has served the community in some outstanding way ? liketoknow
  • Score: 2

11:31am Thu 26 Jun 14

NigelThornberry says...

In all seriousness I genuinely believed Alan Amos to be a woman until I read the article, in which it refers to said mayor as a he. Very hard to tell it's gender just from the picture. Obviously the fact that it's called Alan points to it being of the male variety.
In all seriousness I genuinely believed Alan Amos to be a woman until I read the article, in which it refers to said mayor as a he. Very hard to tell it's gender just from the picture. Obviously the fact that it's called Alan points to it being of the male variety. NigelThornberry
  • Score: 3

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