It's 'welcome to the chain gang' as Madeley gets a mayor
Madeley now has a mayor, after town councillors voted to change the title of its figurehead.
The other four town councils in Telford & Wrekin all use the titles “mayor” and “deputy mayor”, but Arnold England and his predecessors in Madeley had retained the title “chair” until now.
Members voted unanimously for the change, with councillors saying mayoral visits were memorable, visible occasions that benefited schoolchildren and businesses.
But Madeley’s mayoralty will cost less than those in Great Dawley, Newport, Oakengates and Wellington. Councillors voted for a “minimal costs approach” that will lack the civic functions and administrative support enjoyed there.
Councillor England, who is also the speaker of Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “I’m told we are the only town council to have a chair, not a mayor.
“I have been asked why we aren’t members of the ‘chain gang’."
Labour councillor Alan MacKenzie said: “I think the work with schools and young children and businesses all benefit from the attendance of the mayor.
“Also, children, at the schools, when they have various events, like to see the mayor with a badge.
“It’s one of those things they don’t forget.”
Conservative councillor Dave Wright said: “I totally agree. It gives visibility when you are a mayor.”
A report before councillors, by town clerk Phil Griffiths, pointed out that Madeley Parish Council converted to town council status in October 2012, and could have adopted the styles “mayor” and “deputy mayor” any time after that.
Mr Griffiths’s report presented members with four options, ranging from A, no change at all, which would incur no costs, to D, which would require the town council to “purchase new badge of office, host a civic event, provide staff support for mayoral engagements, events and charity fundraising”.
This would involve 10 staff hours per month and an estimated £2,000 to purchase chains of office and £2,440 yearly costs.
“This level of support is similar to that adopted by other town councils in Telford,” the report added.
Councillor Paul Watling proposed Option B, described as “minimal costs”. Under this plan, Mr Griffiths’s report said, “MTC would not hold a civic event or provide administrative support to the mayor”, but the badge of office “which has not been used for some time and contains the inscription of the old Madeley Parish Council” would be updated, at a likely cost of between £200 and £400.
Councillor Watling said: “I think it’s important it is not seen as something for councillors to get kudos. It’s to be an ambassador.”
Members voted by a majority to approve Option B.