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SALFORD STAR LAUNCHES COUNTDOWN CLOCK TO BE RID OF MAYOR SYSTEM
 

Star date: 5th November 2012

AFTER SIX MONTHS OF MAYOR – WE'VE SEEN ENOUGH!

The Salford Star today launches a timer, counting down the days until a new referendum can be held to get rid of the mayoral system.

While current Mayor Ian Stewart can be removed, if voters so wish, after four years in office, another referendum on the mayoral system itself can't be triggered until ten years from the last one – 26th January 2022.

See the reasons for our Countdown Clock here…


THE SALFORD STAR COUNTDOWN TO GETTING RID OF THE MAYORAL SYSTEM – 26TH JANUARY 2022…

Six months of the mayoral system in Salford has convinced us that this is no way to run a city. While people who are unhappy with the performance of current Mayor, Ian Stewart, will say that a different Mayor might run things better, the Salford Star believes that the whole mayoral system is inherently undemocratic and open to abuse.

Transparency and Accountability

As has been shown over the last six months, a Mayor can appoint anyone he wants to be Assistant Mayor, without those Assistants being answerable to anyone. For instance, what does the Assistant Mayor for International Relations do all day? What does the Assistant Mayor for Technology do all day? And what does the Assistant Mayor for Communication and Community Engagement do all day?

They might be doing lots of great work for their `allowances'. But we'll never know. Because they don't hold publicly accessible meetings where Salford people, or the press for that matter, can actually find out. They could be doing loads. They could be doing nothing. They could be great. They could be useless. But whatever it is they are doing is hidden behind a cloak of secrecy.

There's no compulsion to be open to either their own Council or to the electorate. The only declaration anyone has to make public is decisions involving the spending of over £100,000. And even these are laced in secrecy under the guise of `commercial confidentially'.

The `Mayoral Team' has met exactly twice since the May election, discussing only three agenda items in public. The Mayor himself has held seven `City Issues Briefings', with only three items open to the public over six months.

A shocking indictment of the mayoral system came from Councillor George Wilson, when asked by campaigners how he felt about mental health service cuts… "That's not my decision; that's for other people who are more powerful than me" he explained "I'd retain them but that's just me speaking." (see here).

It appears that, outside of the Mayor and his Assistants, democratically elected councillors are being omitted from decision making.

People could argue that the old Council Leader and Cabinet system was also open to democracy abuse. And yes, it was hardly open government. There was an incredible amount of secrecy and decisions nodded through without proper debate.

The difference is that if a Leader was unpopular, he could be kicked out by his own councillors and voted out by his own electorate. A Mayor is there for four years and can't be touched.


The `Me' Factor

The whole idea of putting a city's fate in the hands of one `powerful' person is kind of creepy. The Salford Star has never heard Ian Stewart say the word `We' when referring to the Council. It's always `I' and `Me' – usually in the context of `I wish I had a magic wand' … `I make no promises', but that's another story.

A Council Leader was at least responsible to his Cabinet. A Mayor is answerable to no-one. Except, in Ian Stewart's case, a small number of local Labour Party people. If there are any future Mayors elected who aren't in the Labour Party, they too will be accountable to no-one, apart from a cross in a box once every four years. By which time it might be too late to reverse the mess.


The Cost

The City Mayor and his Deputy are already costing the city well over £100,000 a year, just in their own `allowances'. Does the Mayor have his own budget to spend on a giant tv for his office or to hand money to pet projects? The Salford Star asked the question and it was promptly put in the Mayoral bin.

Meanwhile, we have a Ceremonial Mayor and a Chief Executive and a City Mayor, all drawing wages, and all getting in each other's way. No-one knows the true cost because, as yet, no-one has declared it.

Confusion

No-one seems to know the proper legal role of the Mayor because the Government still hasn't published proposed changes. Where is the Mayor's job description? There doesn't seem to be one. Although there is a helpful explanation of the City Mayor's role on his page on Salford Council's website it's three and a half lines long!

In September, the Mayor announced a new system of Select Committees to improve accountability. Each would meet up to nine times a year and would have the "power to request the attendance of the City Mayor, Strategic Assistant Mayors, Assistant Mayors and any officer of the Council but specifically directors and heads of service". They would be open to the public "except when it is necessary to hold proceedings under Part 2".

Firstly, `Part 2' is where all the real financial decisions are taken and this would still be off limits for `scrutiny'. Secondly, who would sit on these `Select Committees'? No details as yet. In the meantime, there is total scrutiny stagnation at the heart of the Council.

GET RID OF THE MAYORAL SYSTEM – THE CLOCK IS TICKING

Once there has been a referendum on whether to have a Mayor or not, another one can't be held for ten years. In Salford's case this will be on 26th January 2022.

Salford Labour Party actually (half heartedly) campaigned for a `No' vote in the Mayoral referendum this year for some of the very reasons cited above. It's a sad indictment that once the Party has its man as Mayor those reasons have quietly been forgotten.

If Salford people so choose, they can get rid of Ian Stewart in three and a half years time. But the mayoral system stands for another nine and a half years.

So, the Salford Star has begun its ticking clock counting down to the day. Some potential mayoral candidates may say it's the man in power who is the problem. The Salford Star believes it is the mayoral system itself that creates potential for an undemocratic abuse of power.

The Salford Star Countdown Clock is on the right hand side of website pages.


See also previous Salford Star article: Salford Mayor Turns Chicken – click here


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter McHale wrote
at 9:22:08 AM on Monday, March 6, 2017
That's the Labour Party for you. For the working man!!
 
Norma Parkinson-green wrote
at 7:54:33 AM on Saturday, December 13, 2014
Great Job Steve but why do we have to wait so long? There is no democracy so why should the government have the power to make people wait so long to change something that isn't working. It's the same with Manchester many do not want a mayor probably because they have seen the mess salford is in! And yet George Osborne is clearly saying whether people are against it, it will still happen. Why are we letting this happen? Who are these people? There needs to be a change in policy and practice within government that gives power to the people. We are too soft and some people have given up. Stand up for what you believe in. this is your country and before there is nothing left of it do something we need to change the rules that are made for the wealthy. We want democracy back in salford it's not too much to ask the working class have kept this city afloat. Don't give it away!!
 
KEVIN wrote
at 10:02:21 AM on Thursday, September 25, 2014
May this day come quickly then the concerned people will get true democracy, transparency and openness back into this corrupt sytem of ours.
 
Chad wrote
at 5:08:45 PM on Monday, April 7, 2014
My dearest wish is to see Mayor Greedy exiting Salford in his camper van . Good riddance. Only 2830 days to go .
 
Mark. Anderson wrote
at 2:36:37 PM on Sunday, April 6, 2014
Mayors were forced onto England by new labour. Nobody wanted them then and nobody wants them now.
 
Paul Delve wrote
at 10:45:50 AM on Thursday, March 13, 2014
Thankfully I left Eccles Unfortunately Gobbled up by Salford in 1974)..I left in 1998 Best thing I ever did as I could see Labour did not give a Toss about the constituents and This Stewart Bloke what an ARSEHOLE!..His Cohert Lancaster now he has always been Sat on the Gravy Train for as Long as I can remember!..The people in Salford need to WAKE UP!..STOP VOTING LABOUR...They are only in it for themselves and by not being accountable are probably getting away with YOUR HARD EARNED COUNCIL TAX MONEYS!!!....
 
Kenneth Mckelvey wrote
at 1:42:57 AM on Wednesday, December 18, 2013
If the government has allowed all these licences to the Frackers we will need an army of protesters / There is literally thousands of them When the FRACKING is finished the UK will resemble a Swiss cheede
 
Ken Mckelvey wrote
at 12:32:49 AM on Tuesday, December 17, 2013
What is he on about. How many New Labour TORYS send their kids to private Schools All of them no doubt/ Nobody is against private education it is the way it is operated you could have the IQ of Albert Einstien but if you come from Salford forget it / If you don't know that what are you talking about
 
wrote
at 12:22:42 AM on Sunday, May 26, 2013
Can we speed the clock up ?
 
tom nolan wrote
at 5:01:07 AM on Sunday, January 27, 2013
like a prat I voted for a mayor thinking it would be better than councillors...get rid asap...
 
B. Leach wrote
at 5:49:30 AM on Saturday, November 17, 2012
What a mistake Salford made ! The sooner we vote out Mayor Greedy Stewart and his crony army of Taxpayer-Robbing Parasites , the better !
 
Steve wrote
at 12:16:09 PM on Friday, November 16, 2012
I see that in today's elections the people of Hartlepool voted to do away with their elected mayor at the first opportunity after ten years. I also see that Bristol has elected a mayor who will take a salary of £51,000 a year. Less than Salford's mayor in a city with twice the population.
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 1:49:49 PM on Friday, November 9, 2012
Just read the comments on this again, Got to ask the question Mr Morris - happy with your little experiment? If Not - Why Not ? If i could get away with it I'd have the District Auditor in to look into this process of so called "Local Democracy" that your collegues have imposed on my city. Of course - Them wi' the money see to themselves. Where does the Money go? Must be really nice lunches in the council tea rooms nowadays...There's the usual suspects, Peel and all, schemes galore and nothing to show for it (The Quays gets a fancy relief road to go with everything else it gets..but anywhere else? Don't think so!). Bins never get emptied, developers are taking the cash and building carbuncles and money men are just lining their pockets through private schemes and The Nimbies get what they want...funny how most senior employees of Salford live Outside the area - Imagine what'd it would be like if they actually lived here eh? BTW...Mediacity...that Academy...How many pupils are due for trainee posts over at the glass palace...(Ahem!) BBC? Answers on an E-Mail Please!
 
Steve wrote
at 8:41:14 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012
This is by far the best article to appear in the Star for a long time. Best of luck with your campaign to get rid of the post of elected mayor.
 
Rudyard Channing wrote
at 6:53:55 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012
Well said , Stephen Morris ! The 'Labour ' Party in Salford must be the worst in the country , with a destructive and malign influence . Of course they are NU-LIEBOUR , Blair's Bullshitters , anti - Clause 4 , and about as right wing and anti-working class as is possible . The electorate must wake up to this fact , as the apathy and political naivity and indifference in Salford is truly appalling . As for this ' Labour ' council , words fail me . Nothing but an inept mob of overpaid shysters and conmen . 'Labour ' in name only , these shites have run this city into the gutter , betrayed the workers , and betrayed Salford's shafted citizens . Obscene-salaried Spicer is a disaster , as is Mayor Greedy Stewart . We must all pool our resources and ideas , and campaign to rid Salford of the malign influence of the NU-LIEBOUR TORY TRAITORS ,forever .
 
Stephen Morris wrote
at 12:02:44 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012
During the referendum campiagn we highlighted that Salford Labour is a costly and mismanaged Labour. We showed how Labour Mayors in other City's like Leicester only had 4 - 5 assistants and had done away with the chief executive and with the savings had put it directly into front line services. Not only does Mayor Stewart have 13 assistants (legal limit is 10) but he also keeps the Chief executive (over £210,000 py) and takes on a spin doctor. They still voted for Hazel Blears after her expenses scandals, People need to take a long hard look at Salford Labour, 13 years of a wicked and malicious Labour party of which Stewart was a part of and people still voted Labour in Salford, which is the worst form of Labour in the country.
 
Stephen Morris wrote
at 12:01:53 AM on Friday, November 9, 2012
During the Mayoral referendum campaign Labour and Lib Dems were dead set against the Mayoral system, even though it was a Labour government policy. The Greens were also against the system and in setting up the alliance we spoke to the Conservatives and UKiP both of which which didnt want to join the campaign. Ukip wanted Salford controlled under the Greater Manchester banner whether by elected Mayor or Committee structure. So the Alliance was English Democrats and Community Action party with a number of Independents, all of whom put aside their differences as getting rid of such a poor Labour party is crucial in moving Salford forward.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 8:36:10 AM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
More than one way to skin a cat. Triggering the NO vote now can cause local elections from 2014 to be blockers on Labour. When people hear we are truly angry at Mr Mayor let's ask them to vote for any but Labour. In just two years enough none Labour Councillors could force a vote of no confidence in Mr Mayor, with a goodbye party to follow. As one of the past Mayoral candidates I will not stand in an ward against any other none Labour name. This is the only way and I hope Salford Star will map the strategic anti Mayor plan. Give Salford something good to believe in or the farce lasts 10 years.
 
Mr Tootts wrote
at 8:35:26 AM on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Council worker 2 is quite correct . THe malign influence of Lancaster pervades the Clowncil like a sickness, . No doubt Mayor Greedy Bastard squeals like a pig when required . . As Spicer has for years ....
 
Council worker 2 wrote
at 4:04:40 PM on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I heard that Lancaster made Merry his bitch when Merry was the leader. He wants to be the power behind the throne.
 
A.P. wrote
at 9:58:23 AM on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I'll sign the Petition , as I'm sure will the vast majority of Salford's Shafted Citizens . Let's show the useless , inept , self-serving , overpaid Clowncil Bastards what we really think of them . Then let's get rid of these leeching parasites. The majority of salford will support this campaign . .
 
Council worker wrote
at 4:20:07 AM on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I fully support this campaign. The Mayor, his bullying Deputy (BIFFO) Lancaster, Assistant Mayors (Dennet - workforce reform - whats he done!) and then factor in overpaid greedy scary spicer and her overpaid Directors its a mess. The Mayor has yet to be seen by his workers. All he does is let Lancaster have his way, spend money on bbc and Salford Reds. When is he going to get rid of scary useless Spicer? The Mayor is busy campaigning for his mate Tony Loydd to be a police commisssioner - how can his role be independent of politics. And why does Ian stewart need a spin doctor ? basically because he is ueseless! Where is the petition i need to sign it now!
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 10:58:34 PM on Monday, November 5, 2012
Where is Mr Berg and his Cohort Now? I thought they'd be breaking down the doors of Swinton Town Hall! Mr Moulding remains active on his facebook page, but come on - was one major party (other than Tory) firmly behind this? I suspect Not. Of course, the Big Experiment has flopped (Sadly). The Majority of Salford's Electorate fell for this Elaborate Ruse from central government - If he doesn't fall now it'll take some real change in the way things are run in this city if he wants reelection - and not just lightning raids of fancy PR! Suggestion - given the finances - drop the grand schemes - lets actually see what the heck were paying for (regards to executive pay and private partnerships (SCR Stadium and Peel)) and see what positive plans councillors have for this city...and Messrs Owen and Garrido..don't think I haven't got you in my sights either - your Government hasn't helped this city with its centralist agenda - Economic revival doesn't begin and end in London or Manchester.
 
Lee Craven MBE wrote
at 10:58:24 PM on Monday, November 5, 2012
I fully support what Salford Star are saying, I feel very let down and betrayed by the mew mayor, In one of his election leaflets he said, he will consult all Salford people on any disisions making that effects them, He never asked the Good people of Salford that....he Will Elect Deputy Mayors and change weekly bin collections to fortnightly, Just a few to mention, There also seems a lack of Visiable Councilliors in my area, 1 you see time to time,the other at meetings when they won't too, and the 3rd seems to been abducted in the past 2 years, not seen sight or sound, Salford people need to re-elect a Leader once more, we've been let down by the system, But I encourage as many of you to Vote to make Change for the better.
 
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