21 May 2023

On Tuesday 16th May, at a full meeting of Trowbridge Town Council, I was incredibly honoured, and really rather humbled, to be elected as the Mayor of Trowbridge and Chairman of the Town Council for the year 2023/24.

In the two years since I joined this Council, I have seen two very competent and dedicated Mayors serve the town. I witnessed first-hand just how hard they both worked to fulfil their civic duties. I can only assure you that I shall do my very best to live up to the incredibly high standards of civic service that they both so clearly demonstrated.

At the same meeting, Cllr Denise Bates was elected as Deputy Mayor. Denise is one of the two previous Mayors that I’ve referred to above, so I know that in her there is a fantastic asset for the town and a true champion for our community.

The office of Mayor is a purely civic role that has no political element whatsoever. The Mayor is the visible representative of the civic community that is Trowbridge. As such the Mayor is both an ambassador and an advocate for the town. I promise to carry out my duties as Mayor in a manner that pays full respect to the non-partisan nature of the role.

Being the Chairman of the Town Council is slightly more nuanced. As Chair I commit to presiding over council meetings in a fair, non-partisan and impartial way…… every Councillor deserves respect and fair treatment, but every Councillor also owes the public, their fellow Councillors and the Council’s Officers fair and respectful treatment in return. I fully intend to both demonstrate and enforce these basic behaviours to the best of my ability. But then, as Chairman, I have a casting vote in a tied Council. Using that casting vote is by definition a partial act, but when I use that casting vote (as I had to on Tuesday night) I also promise that I shall vote on each matter according to my own beliefs, conscience and informed opinion.

Finally, I am still a ward Councillor, I cannot and will not abandon that responsibility…… I can only put it aside whilst acting as Mayor, and be tempered by an imperative to act in an even-handed way when acting as Chairman of the Council.

I’m really looking forward to the year ahead. We have challenges in Trowbridge, but I firmly believe that if we can work together and put our town’s best interests first we can achieve marvelous things.

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