Bristol’s elected mayor will have to tackle ‘council malaise’
BRISTOL’S first elected mayor is going to have their work cut out to change the culture within the city council to make it closer to the people, according to a leading yes campaigner.
Stephen Perry, who organised a Speakers’ Corner event on College Green in the run up to the referendum, said he was thrilled that Bristol had voted for a more democratic form of government.
He said: “From November we will have our very own mayor in charge – someone we can contact and know and someone we can hold accountable for what is happening in Bristol.”
He said it was a shame that the turnout was not higher – 24 per cent – but thought this was probably due to a “general disillusionment with politics and politicians in the city”.
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And he warned: “Our new mayor is going to have to address this malaise and work hard to change the culture in the Council House, so that it becomes closer and more responsive to the public.”
Mr Perry said the referendum result in favour of an elected mayor for the city was “one of the most significant days in Bristol politics in living memory”.
He said their campaign would now change and were planning to develop a “people’s manifesto” which the new elected mayor should take on board.
The Post has already suggested a job description for an elected mayor which includes having a clear vision for the city and the region; having a passion for the city, understanding how local government works and having a good business sense.
They must also know how to bang the drum for Bristol in winning funding for major projects and running public services.
The momentous referendum result saw a majority of more than 5,000 in favour of an elected mayor. A total of 41.032 voters were in favour while 35,880 were against.
Bristol will still continue to have a Lord Mayor who is chosen from the city’s 70 councillors. The Lord Mayor is a ceremonial post and represents the city at major events.
They also chair full council meetings in the chamber at College Green.
The election for an elected mayor will be held on November 15, by which time we can expect a host of candidates to have stepped forward in the hope of being chosen for the job.