Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Mayoral Office - The End of an Era

Cabinet approved the budget for the coming financial year today, and it has been another year of difficult cuts. At the end of the day there just isn't enough money and ever increasing pressure from those areas which absolutely need money to be spent on them - education and social care. You can watch the webcast of Cabinet HERE to see the details.

Anyway, the relevant point for this post is the imminent removal of the role of Mayor to save £52,000. (To put that figure into some kind of context, stopping the provision of free liners for kitchen recycling caddies will save us £35,000. It's not the huge money sink people sometimes think it is! ETA: some of the comments online said that the £52k was my wage - sadly I can confirm that it is not! The Mayor gets paid about £6k extra for the year, so a bit less than the chair of the other committees.) I've stayed out of the decision to be honest because, obviously, it's very hard to be unbiased when you're actually in the role.

Suffice to say, I'm sad that I will be the last Mayor of Torfaen, but of course I understand why it has to be the case.

Mayor and Mayor's Consort of Torfaen
Wearing all the bling!

The important thing for me going forward, between now and the AGM in May, is to try and make sure anybody who is interested in the role of Mayor, who wants to come to the civic centre and visit the Mayor's Parlour, try on the robes and the chains, etc, has the chance to do so.

How the Mayor's engagements usually work is that the Mayor is invited to attend an event via Chris Slade in the office on 01495 742578 or at chris.slade@torfaen.gov.uk - it's rare for the Mayor to just turn up to something uninvited. I mean, there might be a good reason why they weren't asked! Don't be shy or worry that the event is not official enough, etc. The whole purpose of the role is community engagement. I've been to about 175 events / meetings / etc so far this civic year, and hope to get in as many more as possible.

Mayor of Torfaen
Officially opening a toilet back in the summer!

Alternatively you might want us to come out to your school, club, meeting, etc, and bring along the regalia to talk about what being a Mayor entails, let you check out the chains and robes of office, and so on. We can do talks on the history of the role in Torfaen, or fun stuff with children on what it's all about.

The other thing you can do is come up to the civic centre. If you're part of a group - a hobby club, workplace, school, organisation, etc, etc - you can book to come along to the Mayor's Parlour for tea and welsh cakes and have a look around. I can't promise it's the most exciting thing you'll ever do, but there is a lot of history crammed within those four walls and we'll give you a little tour of the Chamber if it's free and let you bang the gavel and so on. (Schools in particular are welcome to hold school council meetings in the chamber, or have Q&A sessions.)

Torfaen Deputy Mayoral Chains
The Deputy Mayoral chains - designed and made by apprentices back in the 1970s.

If you're an individual interested in coming up and having a look, please get in touch with Chris or me (07532 831078 or jessica.powell@torfaen.gov.uk / jess@babiafi.co.uk - I'm on social media but I might not see it for a few days). Hopefully the regalia will go to Pontypool Museum eventually, but I'd hate to think anyone who wanted to see it all in situ - as it were! - didn't get the chance.

ETA: This post was quoted in a South Wales Argus article on the issue. Read more HERE.

For more like this, please click the image below:
Out and About in Torfaen

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