I REALLY cannot let this letter from Paul Ursell (July 9) go without advising readers of the true facts behind the updating of the constitution of St Neots Town Council. The council was advised many months ago by the town clerk that there was a need to re
I REALLY cannot let this letter from Paul Ursell (July 9) go without advising readers of the true facts behind the updating of the constitution of St Neots Town Council.
The council was advised many months ago by the town clerk that there was a need to review the town council constitution to bring it more up to date and in line with other authorities. Over the months, various issues regarding the constitution were discussed by representatives of all parties on the town council.
Under 'Changes for the Constitution' there has to be a "cooling off" period before any changes can be made, and this directive has been strictly adhered to.
The only objection received from the Conservative group was regarding the additional appointment and election of a leader of the council. This issue was properly debated and voted on at full council.
In view of the fact that both the Conservative-controlled Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council operate this system, as indeed do the majority of councils throughout the country, one can only assume that their only real objection is that the leader would not be a Conservative councillor.
Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are both Conservative-controlled and operate a cabinet system, neither of which has any opposition members on them. The deliberations of these cabinets can indeed be scrutinised by the relevant scrutiny panel - however, these panels are always made up of a majority of the ruling group.
Readers can be assured that here in St Neots, the leader's actions will be fully scrutinised by the full council and in public.
However, the main rationale for this appointment is to allow the mayor to remain non-political and have the freedom to represent the town in a non-political way.
It also allows the opportunity for any councillor, whether a member of the ruling group or not, to be considered for the position of mayor. The Liberal Democrats already have a proven track record of appointing non-ruling group mayors.
Councillor DEREK A GILES
Liberal Democrat, Eaton Socon Ward
St Neots Town Council