Fringe Box



New Mayoral Team to Receive Training – Despite Objections

Published on: 18 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 21 Feb, 2013
The Mayor elect Cllr Diana Locker Nibbs and The Deputy Mayor Elect, Cllr David Ems

The Mayor Elect, Cllr Diana Locker-Nibbs and The Deputy Mayor Elect, Cllr David Ems

The new Mayor and Deputy Mayor elect for Guildford, Cllrs Diana Lockyer-Nibbs (Con, Normandy) and David Elms (Con, Worplesdon), are to receive training for their ceremonial roles.

The item was included in this year’s GBC budget and was debated at last week’s council meeting. It will be the first time in 700 years of Guildford’s history that such training has been given.

Cllr Lockyer-Nibbs stood down as the candidate Deputy Mayor for 2012-13. The explanation given was that she made way for a more experienced candidate to fill the post in the year of the Olympics. Prospective mayors normally fulfil a year as Deputy before becoming the Mayor.

Cllr Tony Phillips, (Lib Dem, Onslow) questioned the training arrangement. He said: “Whilst I am in favour of training, it is perhaps the level and, more particularly, the expense of £4,500 of tax payers money for this training, of just two people, in this economic climate that concerns me.

“How does the leader justify this amount of spending when he is cutting back in some service areas to save money and some council tax payers are struggling to make ends meet?

“If there is £4,500 spare wouldn’t it be better to allocate that to the hardship fund? After all, the two mayoral candidates are not newly elected members. They are used to chairing meetings, public speaking and dealing with difficult people and challenging situations. So they should be able to take on the mayoral role with the minimum of training.

“Now the leader says that he is seeking to modernise the mayoralty. I would like to ask him what does this mean? I hope that the traditions that have been built up over 700 years are not going to be brushed aside.

Cllr Angela Gunning (Lab, Stoke) then commented: “Coaching on dealing with awkward situations and supporting the councils strategic priorities? I am not sure that is money well spent.”

In a robust defence of the move Council Leader, Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South & Tongham) said: “This is £4,500. This is a big council. We are here to talk about a whole budget and much more serious issues than this trifling issue. This is about training.

He compared the need for training with that of his former regiment the Coldstream Guards. They were an old regiment but required training to modernise for their recent tours of Afghanistan.

He continued: “The mayoralty is no different we have to make sure that things that have existed for a very long time are entirely fit for purpose for whatever the future may hold.

“Modernisation does not mean that you are trying to save money; it does not mean that you are trying to cut things down and change things so that they are completely different, putting into the waste paper basket all the proper things that tradition is about.

He conceded that he did not now how all the former mayors of Guildford had performed: “… but what I do know is people need training. We on the Executive need training, council officers need training, senior council officers need mentoring and training.

“This is an administration that is going to promote the training of people so that they can do their jobs and fulfil their remit to the highest possible standard. That is what we are about, being the best of class and that starts, in this case, with the mayor.”

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Responses to New Mayoral Team to Receive Training – Despite Objections

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    February 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Cllr. Mansbridge is correct in saying that The Borough should modernise and in saying so he should be given credit for stating this obvious fact.

    When a Councillor in the past had been nominated to the highest honour that out town can bestow on one of its citizens, he or she will have spent many years in honing the skill necessary to fulfil this great office.

    However, to carry this trend of modernisation to its logical conclusion in this present day we should ask ourselves the question.

    Do we need a Mayor at all?

    The Mayoralty has over the last few years lost a lot of its power.

    We now have a Chief Executive and a very capable Leader of the Council who has the ability of driving The Borough in a very positive way.

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