Guildford Liberal Democrats have been campaigning hard over the past month to make people aware of the directly elected mayor referendum on 13th October.
We are determined to help ensure that residents understand the reasons why the referendum has been called and why we are against a change to our system of governance for Guildford borough council.
The key facts about having an elected mayor are these:
- Expensive: an Elected Political Mayor could cost Guildford at least £315,000 a year extra – which would have to be paid for by budget cuts or council tax increases.
- Your voice ignored: an Elected Mayor would be able to make key decisions behind closed doors without having to involve councillors or let residents have their say.
- Unaccountable: your councillors would no longer have the power to sack the Leader of the council in between elections if they do a bad job.
- Less scrutiny: the campaigners for an elected mayor are saying they’ll scrap the committees that involve councillors in the decision process before they are made.
Guildford residents have been forced to have a referendum on whether we should concentrate all power to one person - a political Mayor.
The Lib Dems do not support this change.
The referendum is driven by the disgraced ex-councillor Monika Juneja who has convictions for forgery, deception and pretending to be a barrister, and her friend and business colleague, Stephen Mansbridge, the former council leader. They are funded by Michel Harper, the local businessman behind the campaign to open a casino in Guildford.
A change in the governance system to an elected mayor would be in place for ten years, unless another referendum is held to change it again at yet more expense!
The Mayor can appoint advisers who could be friends or business associates, not elected councillors, and could dissolve all council committees except the Overview and Scrutiny committee.
All councillors feel that a change from the current system of a Leader who can be displaced would be far less effective. The Leader system is more democratic and allows a stronger representation of residents views - but the key issue is surely the cost.
The council has not budgeted for an elected mayor, their salary or that of their team. The council may have to consider cuts in services to pay for the privilege of having an elected mayor.
Guildford Liberal Democrats urge people to vote AGAINST an elected mayor. Put a cross in the box for Option 1.
We're also asking residents to help to spread the word as many people aren’t aware of why we’re having the referendum or what the impact of a change would be.
You can help by:
- Talking to your friends about the referendum
- Putting up a poster in your window – you can download and print one here