HARTLEPOOL Mayor Stuart Drummond sparked a lengthy online debate when he summed up the ultimatum facing voters next month when they decide whether to keep the current Mayoral system or return to a committee-led council.
He wrote on his Facebook page earlier this week: “The choice will be, either, you decide who makes the.decisons, who spends your council tax, who is accountable for what happens in Hartlepool or councillors select their leader who will have exactly the same power, responsibility and wage as a mayor but you, the public, won’t have any say whatsoever as to who that will be and more so no chance of getting rid if them of you don’t agree with what they do.”
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Here now is a selection of the comments which followed in relation to the November 15 vote, the Mayor’s performance over the last decade and local issues such as the proposed transfer of hospital services to a new site at Wynyard.
Richard Brackstone: “Stuart, the town will realise what they had when it’s too late if we do not have another mayor.”
Phil Gorman: “Whoever gets put in power will have an over inflated salary given the current economic climate.”
Jack Hanlon: “The Mayoral system is the way forward. Hartlepool does not need what will become a Labour dictatorship with a load of cranks in charge. Good luck Stuart, I’ll be voting to keep things as they are.”
Richy Bates: “In austere times it needs to be seen that people in positions of power are feeling the pinch or justifying exaggerated wages. I don’t think it’s personal just the general public think most people in power are too far removed.”
John Tully Angus: “We as the public need more transparency in politics and the way our money gets spent and a say in the wages paid in government as it’s all too clear the majority are looking after number one. Stuart has been clear about his role since day one and done good things for Hartlepool. I will be voting to keep our town mayor.”
Ste Torence Harvey: “Stuart got in it because it started as a laugh, but I don’t believe he now does it without the best interests of the town. If we were in the same situation and somebody said ‘oh your salary is x amount’ how many really hand on heart would say ‘oh no that’s too much’.”
Ian R Lowry: “I agree Ste, but the monkey evolved into a Labour puppet. If the good folk of our town are so anti-political why do the vast majority keep voting Labour?”
Shelly Kitson: “Well I for one was very grateful for the help our Mayor gave us and his support when we had problems with school admissions and if we didn’t have a mayor who puts families first I wouldn’t have known where to turn for help.
“I received a letter from him, not a pre-typed one, but one that was was on a personal level to me my husband and our children and I thank him for that. He made me feel that my family did matter to him.”
Dawn Harker Kenny: “I don’t see the point of spending whatever million to build a new hospital out of the town where people cannot get to when they could do up the general.”
Jonathan Turner: “The youth of today don’t care about politics as they are not involved in the political process. There is nothing appealing to the vast majority hence why we voted in a guy in a monkey suit (sorry Stuart, no offence meant). The hospital has got nothing to do with Hartlepool, it just all about money and if anyone thinks a mayor has influence over a decision of that nature then you really need to have a think about things.”
Ste Torence Harvey: “If you don’t vote then you’ll definitely have no voice, if you don’t agree with a mayor then don’t vote for one.”
Dawn Harker Kenny: “I do vote and it seems not too be counted.”
Jonathan Turner: “Stuart Drummond can count on my support as he has shown how to turn blind ignorance into a voice. You may think he is influenced by politics but I genuinely believe he has the good of the town and its people at heart and that’s good enough for me.”
Councillor Sajaad Khan: “Mr Drummond when I met you, you treated me with dignity and respect. You are a gentleman and a scholar.”
John Tully Angus: “I think Stuart played a good hand when he stood as a monkey mayor, he wasn’t stupid. He had enough up top to take a chance and he did, I think he has done good things for Hartlepool, he can’t be blamed for the country’s current situation one bit.
“It’s the Government who have us over daily not the town mayor,
“Labour opened the flood gates to immigration and the Human Right Act and the Conservatives have always favoured the rich, keep hold of our town mayor as he does make a difference.
“If you want to change things then think about who gets your next vote and make a difference.”
Sarah Foster-Elsdon: “After the Peer Review again identified how some elected members (councillors not officers) have too many personal interests and many understand how they can use their positions to influence, my concern is it would be more freedom for them not to have a truly independent mayor.
“It is ensuring that the position is truly independent that is my concern or it will quickly become pointless.”
Chris Byers: “I would love to have a say in how my council tax is spent. Truth is either way I won’t.”
Martin Bailey: “I agree that the mayoral system gives a little more transparency and accountability. Perhaps a candidate standing for the right reasons could give up part of the salary and use that to fund expenses.”