We don’t want to attend every town council meeting, says Wisbech mayor and his new deputy - after three days

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

A tradition that has been in councils across the country for years could be broken at Wisbech if an idea by the new mayor to drop the need to go to every meeting is approved.

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

The town clerk has said it is so the mayor and his deputy, Cllr Peter Human, can spend more time at civic engagements or promoting Wisbech in a positive light.

However, a fellow councillor fears the new mayor has realised he is trying to juggle too many things, hence now trying to now ease the work load.

Cllr Virgina Bucknor noted that Cllr Tierney’s seat is not even warm - mayor making was three days ago - yet she said he is already trying to duck out of meetings.

In addition, the idea has not been given the required seven days notice, she added.

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant


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“No other mayor or deputy has asked to opt out. Ever,” she said.

“All mayors and deputies attend committee meetings so they know what’s going on. It’s been like this for ever.

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“Now suddenly they want to opt out.

“Is it because the mayor, as well as being a town and district councillor, also felt he could do the other two jobs properly of being a county councillor as well as our mayor?

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Deputy mayor Councillor Peter Human. PHOTO: Ian Carter

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Deputy mayor Councillor Peter Human. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

“We have one of the newly elected councillors, now deputy mayor, who is naturally very inexperienced and its important he understands the workings of the council, yet it’s proposed that he can opt out of attending committee meetings as well.

“Before their chairs are even warm, they want to suddenly opt out of part of their responsibilities,” she added.

“Continuing sad times on Wisbech Town Council.”

An order known as Standing Order 43 says the mayor and deputy town mayor should be voting members of every committee - more than 30 meetings a year.

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Mayor Councillor Steve Tierney and deputy mayor Councillor Peter Human .

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Mayor Councillor Steve Tierney and deputy mayor Councillor Peter Human . PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

Cllr Tierney said: the mayor and deputy mayor were ex officio, which meant they did not have to attend all meetings, and in practice they rarely did that.

The idea was for the mayor and deputy mayor to choose the committees they wished to sit on, he added.

Town council clerk Terry Jordan said: “This has the effect of requiring these two councillors to commit the greatest amount of time to meetings of the council at a time when their lives have become busier because of the civic duties associated with the mayor and deputy mayor roles.

“It is important that their ability to represent the council and Wisbech in an effective and appropriate manner is not compromised by having a “heavy” meetings workload.

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter

Wisbech mayor making 2017. Councillor Steve Tierney. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

“To both “free-up” the mayor and deputy mayor - to be able to devote sufficient time and energy to representing and promoting the town of Wisbech – and to increase the opportunity for other members to be members of committees, it is proposed that the wording of Standing Order 43 be replaced with “The chairman and vice-chairman shall have the right to serve as a member of any committee of the council if he or she so wishes”.

• The issue is being discussed in a meeting of Wisbech Town Council tonight (Monday 22).

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