What we need from a mayor

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THE debate about how the city of Sheffield is run has got a lot more lively, with the announcement there is to be a poll next year on whether it has an elected mayor.

The case for or against the change will be well made and well rehearsed over this time, with comparisons no doubt made about whether it has worked in neighbouring Doncaster or whether we want to follow the same path.

It is a healthy debate to have, not least because it will focus attention on the quality of leadership in the city.

And that is what is at stake here. If the city moves to an elected mayoral system, then that person single-handedly becomes the embodiment of Sheffield and our city’s image will be linked with them. Take, for example, the role played by Boris Johnskenon and previously Ken Livingstone.

Admittedly, any mayor for Sheffield will not have the same powers, but they will have the same projection, we would hope.

So the question facing the people of Sheffield will be twofold. The first is do we want to vest power in one person for four years and the second is do we have the calibre of leadership in our midst who can take up that challenge?

It is those two things we should be debating and not the distraction of any experience a few miles up the road from here.

Firm creates a long-term bond

IT is always a time to celebrate when new jobs are created in the Sheffield region. But the announcement by Kraft Foods that it is to begin making biscuits at its Owlerton factory, bringing 60 manufacturing jobs is tempered by news that the company is to shed 40 white collar jobs at the same time.

And it must be emphasised that this development, which is part of a £6 million investment in the local plant, shows a commitment to its Sheffield workforce which can only be welcomed

The jobs which are being brought to the city will include a wide range of skills so the overall impact on the employment market is softened.

For the city needs diversity in employment, having paid a high price in earlier years for too many people relying on one particular skill.

Meanwhile, the company is assuring staff that no compulsory redundancies will be made and that they will attempt to give chances to some staff to take on the new roles.

This all points to a business which is anxious to build a strong bond with its employees with a view to creating a long-term relationship.

Let there be light

THE annual Festival of Light at a Sheffield hospice is always a time for reflection.

Bathed in the illuminations at St Luke’s, hundreds gather to remember loved ones, represented by the lights.

It’s a beautiful sight and a moving way to pay tribute. It’s also a fantastic fundraiser as this year’s event topped £35,000 for the St Luke’s charity.

Which are two reasons to celebrate this festival of goodwill.