Island Gardens Cllr Peter Golds wants the role of Tower Hamlets Mayor to change
PUBLISHED: 11:48 27 August 2014
The newly elected Tower Hamlets is finding its feet. Whilst the membership has changed, no fewer than seventeen of the forty five councillors are newly elected, other things remain constant. At our first full business meeting in July the Mayor, as usual refused to answer questions from either councillors or the public.
At an earlier meeting he had formally recorded that he would make all executive decisions. Therefore, his “cabinet” are no more able to vote on Lutfur Rahman’s executive decisions than any other councillor, or indeed member of the public. No power, no responsibility, just the opportunity of being photographed in media opportunities, or as happened at the last meeting, being abusive to opposition councillors.
Contrast this with Boris Johnson spending hours regularly fielding questions from London assembly members and it can be seen why the mayoral model of local government, as seen in Tower Hamlets, needs improvement.
Recent government initiatives have seen the compulsory recording of votes of councillors at budget meetings and requiring local authorities to provide real and proper facilities for journalists and indeed bloggers. It is hoped that other changes will follow.
Thanks to successive governments, Tower Hamlets has been provided with massive resources to improve local schools and homes. This began before the current Mayor took office. However, as the council enters the next financial period, the Mayor should be concentrating on council finances, rather than initiating his own foreign policy. Perhaps this is why he is so reluctant to answer questions from elected representatives?