The office of Mayor is one of the most ancient offices in British History but has changed its role, importance and public perception throughout the centuries. Looking at lists of Mayors that are often displayed in Town Halls throughout the land, it is the office of Mayor that often connects the present day Council to its mediaeval or earlier predecessors. The office of the Mayor draws its traditions and privileges from rights acquired over hundreds of years.

What is the current role of the Town Mayor and why does Barry Need one?

The Mayor is a symbol of the Town Council. A symbol of an open society and expression of social cohesion.

The Mayor plays a crucial role in the work of the council and community.  Supporting the delivery and promotion of many of the Town Council’s objectives as well as the wellbeing goals for Barry. This can be seen in the corporate plan. (Hyper Link the words Corporate Plan to the page or plan itself)

The Mayor, by virtue of the office, can and should seek to:

  • Use their influence and standing in the role to embolden community pride and social cohesion, encourage business, and promote the voluntary sector. 
  • Have meetings with dignitaries, endless engagements and 
  • Be in the public eye for virtually the whole year during their term of office

The Mayor, needs to exhibit a keen and genuine interest in those they meet, show enthusiasm and commitment to the role. 

The role is non-party political, speaks up for the town’s interests and always be mindful of the dignity of the office.

The Role of Barry Town Mayor is a dual function, and is both ceremonial and constitutional

The Ceremonial Role

As the highest position which the Barry Town Council can bestow, The Mayor is a dignified role and undertakes all ceremonial duties in a way that upholds and enhances the status of the town and inspires civic pride.

The Constitutional Role

The Mayor is Chair of the Council, according to Local Government Act 1972, schedule 12, paragraph 5(1). The Mayor is elected at the Annual Council Meeting, and summarises debate and facilitates the resolving of decisions at Council meetings which they Chair. At meetings the Mayor maintains order, manages conflict, guides the discussions and listen’s to other member’s opinions and has an original and casting vote. They also work with the Town Clerk to ensure the Council is making legal decisions and is kept up to date and properly informed.

There are three main important roles within the office of Mayor:

 

A Symbol of Authority:

 

Through the insignia of the mace, robes and chains of office, the Barry Town Mayor is clearly seen as a symbol of the council’s authority.  It is also a symbol of continuity, connecting the present day with the past symbolising how the ‘people’ were considered part of the council and strengthened the idea that the Mayor was the First Citizen who spoke for the whole town and helped to give it an identity.

 

A Symbol of an Open Society:

 

Prior to the Twentieth century the choice of the Mayor was, in reality, very restricted and was often white middle/upper class and male. These days the role of Mayor as First Citizen can, and quite often does, come from any class, gender or ethnic background, this new diversity reflects the more open and democratic society we now live in.

 

Expression of Social Cohesion:

 

The Mayor acts as a link between various bodies and organisations and through the many engagements, many of which are social, taking the Council’s messages and themes out into the community, as well as feeding back the views and concerns of the people into the political field. Overall working towards achieving the council’s social, community, educational and economic aims.

 

Support for the Mayor

 

The support team for the Mayor is made up of 3 main positions:

 

  1. Mayoress/ consort/ Escort – Though not recognised by law, the role of Mayoress was originally bestowed on the Mayor’s wife. In present times the Mayor can choses to appoint a consort and does not necessarily need to be undertaken by their spouse, but can also be chosen from partner, friend or relative – of either sex. 

The Consort is accorded precedence alongside the Mayor with the role providing assistance to the Mayor. They provide personal support and accompanies the Mayor on engagements. The Consort is also expected to observe Civic Protocol and offer support with the Mayor’s chosen charities and fundraising events.

 

  1. Mace Bearer – Expected to carry out their role at all civic events, such as Mayor Making, Civic service and Remembrance Sunday, the mace bearer can also be called upon for any additional Mayoral services as and when requested.  The Mace is the symbol of the Royal authority delegated to the Mayor and is expected to present a positive image of the Town Council and Office of Mayor ensuring compliance with protocol.

 

  1. Mayor’s Secretary – Supplying day to day support for the Mayor under general direction of the Chief Officer and Deputy Chief officer. The Mayor’s secretary is an employee of Barry Town Council and assists the Mayor with organising their term of office. ALL invitations for the Mayor must go through the Mayor’s secretary. The Mayor’s secretary receives invitations for the Mayor and liaises with the Mayor before accepting/declining invites.  If the Mayor is unable to attend an event the secretary will offer the invitation to the Deputy Mayor. It is essential that all organisations and persons who wish to invite the Mayor to their events, go to the Secretary to ensure all diaries are kept up to date and all appointments made, are kept.

 

  1. Deputy Mayor –  The Deputy Mayor supports the Mayor throughout the year by representing the council when the mayor is unavailable or has another engagement.

 

Full Civic Protocol for the  Mayor’s role and the Barry Town Council can be found here (Hyperlink to the BTC Civic Protocol)