Blurring the lines of mayoral role

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IN THE 27 years I have had the pleasure of living here, there have been a good many Mayors of the town in that time.

With the exception of the current incumbent at the Town Hall, they have all taken an apolitical stance during their term of office, believing their role of the time to be entirely neutral.

In fact one of the distinguished holders of the post, Mr Ron Parsons, once opined that the Mayor stood as the Queen’s representative of Eastbourne. One could hardly imagine Her Majesty taking sides in a political matter.

I am therefore puzzled by the apparent difference in approach by the current Mayor, Cllr Mrs Carolyn Heaps.

Or am I incorrect in thinking she should have no role in current partisan concerns, such as for example the campaign to install a skate park in Manor Gardens?

We are accustomed to her photograph, as in the case of any Mayor, participating in celebratory or any other non-political functions.

But her clearly happy image along with the campaigners in their success at the Town Hall recently surely did not come into the same category.

We were told she was acting in her capacity as a councillor for Old Town.

But should she have done so during her Mayoral office? Is it not the case that if a political issue arises in a Mayor’s own ward, then a colleague councillor in that ward should take it on?

I would be interested to learn what the constitutional position is in the matter, perhaps from other Mayors of former times.

EDWARD THOMAS

Collington Close