At long last we are emerging from the restrictions imposed on us all during the Covid epidemic. I am sure we are all looking forward optimistically to resuming some manner of normality in our lives. As Mayor of Whittlesey Town Council, I certainly am.
Most town or district councils elect a separate mayor and leader, and their roles are quite distinct from each other. At Whittlesey Town Council these roles are combined.
What is the role of the mayor and of the leader of the council?
The role of mayor is primarily a civic function. They are responsible for promoting their local town or district by visiting adjoining towns and districts and other important organisations with their consort. In our area, that includes places such as the United States Air Force bases at Alconbury and Molesworth. The mayor and consort will also host local events to welcome visiting dignitaries and raise monies for worthy charities. Other duties include supporting local festivals and being in attendance at Remembrance Day ceremonies.
During my previous term of office last year, most of these functions were cancelled or modified. But now Ann and I appear to be well and truly back on the circuit. We were certainly delighted recently to attend a mayor making ceremony hosted by Huntingdon Town Council at the new community centre in Coneygear. Looking forward, I am pleased to report that our diaries are becoming increasingly full.
A further important duty of the mayor is to chair the monthly town council meetings. These are now reverting back to physical meetings at Peel House, as opposed to the Zoom technology previously employed.
In contrast, the leader holds the responsibility of ensuring that the day-to-day business of the council is run in a smooth and professional manner. Additionally, they will have individual responsibility for the particular ward and/or district to which they have been elected.
Meet my valued supporting cast
The tasks of the mayor and the leader would be impossible to carry out without the support of the town clerk and the other councillors.
I am indeed fortunate to have at my disposal a very talented and hardworking town clerk in Mrs Sue Piergianni. Those of you who have either visited or contacted the town council offices will know of her efficiency and professionalism. In addition to her usual duties, which incidentally seem to increase each year, Sue has the added burden of handling most of the matters affecting our commercial and domestic tenants at Peel House, which she does with the minimum of complaint.
I am also extremely fortunate to have the services of experienced councillors at hand. Cllr Chris Boden is the current leader of Fenland District Council, and Cllr Alex Miscandlon is the chairman of Fenland District Council. My deputy mayor, Cllr Mrs Dee Laws, is the Fenland District Council Portfolio Holder for Planning, while Cllr Mrs Kay Mayor is a former chairman of Fenland District Council.
Whittlesey and the surrounding villages are well-served by your councillors. In addition, they are well-placed at district level to address your concerns to a wider audience and use their influence accordingly, for which I am very grateful.
Until next time……
Words by Cllr David K M Mason, Mayor & Leader, Whittlesey Town Council