CALLS for a change in the way the city’s Mayor is elected have been dismissed by Worcester City Council.
Coun Neil Laurenson made the proposal at a meeting of the authority last Tuesday (September 30) and called for the seniority of a councillor to determine whether they should take the ceremonial chains.
His motion comes after Coun Alan Amos was controversially elected Mayor of Worcester in May.
Under Coun Laurenson’s plans, the most senior councillor would be invited every December to become Mayor from May the following year.
Coun Laurenson said he believed the move would take the ‘political shenanigans’ out of the process and felt the reputation of the city had been affected by the manner in which Coun Amos was selected.
His views were opposed by Conservative councillors and Coun Lucy Hodgson, who served as Mayor of Worcester in 2008, claimed the proposals discriminated the young.
“I have thought long and hard about this motion and there is absolutely no way I can support this,” she said.
“I was 47 when I became mayor and I chose to do it early on in my political career because the time was right for me. I was not told by a list of pecking orders.
“Under these proposals I would not have been able to choose and I would have had to wait my time.”
Coun Robert Rowden added: “The mayor is not some sort of cookie to be given to someone just because of their long service. It is ceremonial and it is also political as the mayor has a casting vote.
“If the mayor did not to have the casting vote then someone else would need to have it otherwise if the vote was equal there would be no decision.”
Labour leader Coun Adrian Gregson said a ‘constitutional working party’ needed to be created to consider alternative approaches to selecting a mayor.
Coun Richard Udall added: “Rightly or wrongly there was outrage about what happened earlier this year.
“Worcester people are asking for change and we have a duty to consider alternative methods of selecting or electing a Mayor of Worcester.”
Coun Laurenson backed an amendment to his motion from the Labour group which called for a ‘constitutional working party’ but it was rejected by 18 votes to 16.