In view of the overwhelming success in Doncaster to retain the elected mayor model, perhaps this is good time to look back to May 2001 when Doncaster Council Watch members Louella Chesterman, Joffre Sprakes, Dunlop Griffith and myself campaigned for the referendum which eventually brought about Martin Winter and, subsequently, Peter Davies as elected mayors.
The major parties all opposed elected mayors but we persevered by putting the people first and not the views of political parties in the Mansion House.
Joan Smith, now 78, of Balby, made history by being the first person to sign the petition, which triggered the referendum for an elected mayoral system in 2001. Previously, Doncaster council had voted unanimously against the idea, but when people voted 35,000 for the system to 19,398 against, the three leading parties, as well as the Greens, fielded a candidate. Labour’s Martin Winter became the first elected mayor and, in June 2009, Peter Davies became our second.
He also became the people’s friend when he booted greed off the roof of the Mansion House on his first day in office by slashing his salary by tens of thousands of pounds.
Obviously, Doncaster residents have snuggled up to Mayor Davies’s style of leadership by voting to retain the mayoral system, which will now be with us for about another 12 years.
In view of a rogue poster demanding an end to Doncaster’s mayoral system on the run-up to the elections last Thursday, Mayor Davies should now consider, as a matter of urgency, ridding the council of the office of civic mayor, so situations such as this are less likely to occur in future.
In any event, with the current financial crisis being as bad as it is, we have to ask ourselves if we can really afford these trimmings any longer when a chair of council is satisfactory? No limousine necessary when a George and Mildred will do.
Ray Nortrop, Doncaster