Town council sets out new process to elect the Mayor

Mayor of Todmorden Jayne Booth, left, and mayoress Michaela Booth at Todmorden Town Hall.
Mayor of Todmorden Jayne Booth, left, and mayoress Michaela Booth at Todmorden Town Hall.

The process of electing the Mayor of Todmorden will be changed in 2014 for the first time in more than 100 years.

Since 1896, Todmorden Town Council has elected the town’s Mayor on an order of seniority, with the councillor who has the longest record of service being put forward for the role.

But next year any of the 18 elected or co-opted members will be eligible to become the town’s civic head.

Coun David O’Neill said it was necessary to change the process because the current method was proving to be problematic.

“Each year in January the town clerk would give the councillors the information on who has served the longest,” he said.

“Their name would then be number one on the list to become the new Mayor.

“That person would be offered the Mayor’s position if they hadn’t done it before.

“From January onwards they would become Mayor Elect and would take up the Mayor’s post on Mayor’s Day in May.

“Over the last few years it has been quite noticeable that when the town council has been reading the list out, there have been fewer and fewer people accepting the offer of becoming Mayor.

“Some don’t want to be considered for it, some are very busy with work commitments and we understand that.

“We were having to go a long way down the list before we found the Mayor.”

Coun O’Neill said if anybody who indicated they did not want to do it but then changed their mind before Mayor’s Day, they would jump to the top of the list because of their more senior status, meaning the councillor who was preparing to take the chain of office would then miss out.

The town council has decided on the new process after carrying out consultation with other similar sized local authorities.

“We thought it was time to change the system so the people of Todmorden get a person who is committed, who wants to do it and who has the time to do it,” Coun O’Neill said.

“If you are not fully committed, it’s a very difficult role to fulfil.”