Does the town need a mayor?

Mayor Stuart Drummond
Mayor Stuart Drummond

HARTLEPOOL councillors have given a mixed response to a Mail survey asking how they would like to see the council run in the future.

A referendum asking voters whether they would like to retain the directly-elected mayor system in town is expected to be held on November 15.

If the current mayor and cabinet committee system is scrapped, the alternatives include a leader and cabinet model or a committee system.

We asked all 33 councillors whether they were in favour of the current system and if not, which system of governance they would prefer.

Of the 20 that responded with a comment, nine said they were in favour of the mayor and cabinet system.

Five councillors were against and six said they were either undecided or were waiting until the outcome of the ongoing public consultation before expressing an opinion.

The remaining 13 either declined to comment or did not respond.

At a recent full council meeting, councillors passed a resolution for a referendum to be held, subject to recommendations from Hartlepool Borough Council’s constitution and general purposes committees.

By law only one alternative system can be put forward to the current directly-elected mayor system.

The two alternative options are as follows:

• A leader who is an elected councillor

• Committees made up of elected councillors

All four members of the Putting Hartlepool First group said they were in favour of the current system, while all three Conservative councillors said they would favour a committee system.

There was a mixed response from the handful of Labour councillors that responded with some in favour, some against and the others waiting until the outcome of the consultation.

Mayor Stuart Drummond, who became the town’s first elected mayor in May 2002, has previously welcomed the chance for people to have their say.

He was elected for the third successive time in 2009.

THE Mail’s survey asked all 33 councillors to answer the following two questions:

1)Are you in favour of the current mayor and cabinet committee system ?

Please answer either Yes or No.

2) A: If not, which system of governance would you prefer to have in Hartlepool and why?

B: If you are in favour please give your reasons.

READ HOW ALL 33 COUNCILLORS ANSWERED IN FRIDAY’S MAIL

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