What is a Town Mayor?The modern office of Town Mayor is a position of honour awarded to a serving Councillor for service to the Council. The Mayor is expected to act as an ambassador for the Town and to be the public face of the Town Council. As such, the Mayor should devote their time to civic, ceremonial and representational functions and to preside over town-wide meetings. The Mayor is the Chairman of the Town Council.
The position is formally known as "Town Mayor", although the word "Town" is often dropped. Women Mayors are also known as "Mayor"; the wife of a Mayor is often known as the "Mayoress", although strictly speaking the term is for the wife of a Borough Mayor. It is not clear what equivalent title would used for the husband of a Mayor, which rather shows the historical gender bias of the position.
SelectionThe Mayor is elected at the Town Council's Annual Town Meeting in May. The election of Town Mayor is the first item on the agenda. Following a formal declaration of acceptance, the Town Mayor holds office until the next Annual Town Meeting even if there is an election and the Mayor is not re-elected as a Councillor.
Duties and ResponsibilitiesAs Chairman, the Mayor's duties are prescribed by legislation, including:
- The Mayor may convene a meeting of the council at any time and is also required to call a meeting at the request of two or more councillors.
- If the Mayor is present at a full meeting of the Town Council they must preside as Chairman and are responsible for ensuring that meetings are conducted properly. The Mayor should involve all Councillors and ensure that they keep to the point, summarise debate and facilitate and form clear decisions.
- The Mayor has a casting vote. The first vote is a personal vote as an
ordinary Councillor and if there is a tied vote, the Mayor as Chairman,
can have a second, or casting vote in order to reach a decision.
There is an unwritten rule that a casting vote should keep the status quo, however that is not always possible. If a tied vote should occur I will attempt to select the lowest impact decision or the one most easily modified later.