THE way in which the mayor is chosen in Whitchurch has been given a shake-up because councillors believe a secret ballot will be fairer.
Until now, councillors have decided among themselves who will be the next mayor and deputy, before they are nominated and voted in on a show of hands.
The deputy mayor automatically becomes mayor the following year.
But town councillor Linda Thomas, who was expected to be made mayor this year, told this week’s town council meeting she did not have enough time to do the role because of work demands.
She added: “My current situation leaves me no option but to request that I’m not nominated for the mayor this forthcoming year. I say this with some regret.”
She proposed that the current mayor, Cllr Jackie Day, should continue for a second year.
But Cllr Allan Vaughan suggested the mayor should be chosen by a new method.
He said: “I would like to suggest that councillors nominate to the town clerk who they think should be mayor, the deputy mayor and heads of major committees. If there is a run-off, there should be a secret ballot at the next meeting.”
It would be a fairer system, he said. “It means councillors can nominate themselves. We will have a more democratic process,” he added.
Cllr Claire Isbester agreed. She said: “I think it makes it much more open.”
Councillors agreed to adopt the new system for choosing the mayor.