Thursday, 12 May 2016

Honorary Aldermen - not sure!

It was interesting to see the recent decision of Southend Council to start to appoint Honorary Aldermen and women, and the resulting decision to bestow this honour on seven illustrious ex councillors, all of whom are previous mayors.

I have to admit that I am no great supporter of the honours system at any level (perhaps because there is no chance of me being offered one!) but I did struggle to see the point of this latest move. As ex mayors they already hold an important position in the history of the Town, have their photographs on display in Porters and their names etched into the wall of the Civic Centre. They are on the council’s “worthies” invitation list so what does this add? Are the public greatly impressed by councillors rewarding councillors in this way? I am not sure. At least with freemen there was an attempt on occasions to throw the net wider than ex councillors and officers.

Having said that if there is an obvious oversight it does seem to me the absence of any formal record of ex Leaders and Chief Executives. From a practical point of view the Leader of the council is the most influential councillor and can have a massive effect on the Town, both through the policies they champion but also the colleagues they endorse in to positions of importance.

It is quite difficult to establish the roll call of past Leaders and certainly there is no formal list at the Civic Centre or Porters. Whilst I would not suggest they be recognised as Honorary Alderman or otherwise it does seem strange that they are not formally listed at the Civic Centre or even merit a place on the “worthies list” unless they also happen to be ex-mayors.

As a group they (we) might on occasions be unpopular and controversial but we have all put our heads over the parapet to do what we think it in the best interests of the Town. Similarly the Chief Executives are massively important and have left a permanent legacy in the Town.

So what about a roll call of the more recent Leaders Nick Hall, David Dedman, Norman Clarke, Charles Latham, Graham Longley, Howard Briggs, Anna Waite, Murray Foster, yours truly and Ron Woodley, and the Chief Executives Douglas Moulson, George Krawiec and Rob Tinlin.

No comments:

Post a Comment