Calls to make role of Hartlepool's mayor open to non-elected members of the public

Fresh calls have been made to review the role of Hartlepool’s ceremonial mayor and to look at making it a position for members of the public.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 2:25 pm

Councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council’s constitution committee have been invited to raise issues to be looked at as part of their annual review.

Labour Cllr Brenda Harrison called for the council to again look at the role of ceremonial mayor, which doubles as chair of the council.

She said they should look at whether the two roles could be separated with a non-elected representative carrying out the role of ceremonial mayor.

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Calls have been made to make the role of Hartlepool's mayor open to non-elected members of the public.
Calls have been made to make the role of Hartlepool's mayor open to non-elected members of the public.

Speaking at the committee’s latest meeting, she said: “I wasn’t wanting to get rid of the role of ceremonial mayor, what I thought we could look at was to make that a non-member role.”

She added the calls were “absolutely nothing personal” against anyone and her Labour colleague Cllr Jonathan Brash also praised current mayor Cllr Brenda Loynes for the “excellent job” she does.

Hayley Martin, the council’s chief solicitor, said the constitution states the chair of council is the only person who can be ceremonial mayor.

She added that councillors may be able to look at having a separate role similar to that of ceremonial mayor although it may need a separate title.

She said: “Chair of council has to be an elected member, that’s in the Local Government Act, they don’t have to take the title of ceremonial mayor, that’s different.

“The chair is first citizen of the borough and they can take the title of mayor if they want and that’s just something in our constitution we do have.

“It’s a tightrope. I could see that you could have something separate, but I don’t know whether you would call it the ceremonial mayor.”

Calls were also made by councillors to look at changing the current election cycle.

Cllr Shane Moore, the council leader and Independent Union representative, told the meeting that moving to all-out elections held every few years, as opposed to the current system where councillors are usually elected in thirds each year, could provide the authority with savings.