No nominations for next mayor

Current Mayor Hazel Lynskey
Current Mayor Hazel Lynskey
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COUNCIL officials have received no nominations for the next mayor and deputy mayor of Scarborough it has been revealed.

And councillors will use a new transferrable vote system when they elect the leader of Scarborough Council following May’s election.

Both matters were highlighted at yesterday’s meeting of Scarborough Council’s Cabinet.

Members heard a report by the chief executive Jim Dillon and he confirmed that there were no nominations for both civic roles.

He added that it placed the authority in an unsure situation. He said: “We should prepare a course of action following the May election.”

Cllr Jonathan Dixon said that, given the fact that the council was facing a lot of changes in the near future, it was understandable that people were holding back before making the commitment.

In 2007 the mayor elect was Peter Bull but he failed to win a seat on Scarborough Council and the role was accepted by Cllr Janet Jefferson.

Cllr Peter Popple asked whether there was any problem with former mayors putting their names forward.

Council leader, Cllr Tom Fox, said that Meredith Whittaker, a former owner of the Evening News, had been mayor twice.

Cabinet members also discussed proposed changes to the council’s constitution – including how the next leader would be chosen.

Ian Anderson, the council’s head of legal and support services, said that all councillors would be given a voting slip which would list the names of all potential candidates which they would rate in order of preference.

He added: “The person that has more than 50 per cent of the votes is elected leader. If that isn’t the case then the bottom of the list is dropped off.”

Cllr Jonathan Dixon said that the process was similar to that used when electing members of the Green Party to national roles and, although it might seem complicated, the transferrable vote system was fairly straightforward.

He said it was possible to chose the option to reopen nominations if the candidates did not have the confidence of their fellow councillors. “In my 20-plus years of using this system reopen nominations has never won an election,” he said.

“Members need to be clear when they are voting. Once people have done it once or twice it becomes second nature.

“When you think no other members are suitable your choice should be to reopen nominations”

Cllr Jane Kenyon said that new councillors would have to be trained in the new system before the need to elect a new leader – which had to be the first job after the election.

Mr Anderson said it would be outlined during the first council meeting following the election. He added: “It’s all very well training existing members. We will ensure that it is time before that first council meeting.”

Cllr Dixon said: “The new members will probably have an easier time than existing members because it’s all new to them.”

The Cabinet accepted the report and the matter will now go to full council.