Directly Elected Mayors: Are they appropriate?

Author: eGov Monitor   |  

The debate is ‘not over’ regarding the benefits of Directly Elected Mayors says a new publication by Localis, the local government and localist think tank

In this series of essays from key commentators, the debate ranges over a number of topics and attempts to find answers to questions such as: Do Mayors improve voter turnout? Are they a more effective form of governance? Are they more effective than other types of organisation?

Anthony Browne argues that the example of London shows that a Mayoral system can thrive, and is a vital part of coherence in local decision making and providing accountability.

Cllr Richard Kemp says “I want evidence” that Mayors succeed, arguing that London cannot be considered an example due to it being a special case. He goes on to ask a series of questions that need answering before Directly Elected Mayors should be considered a serious proposition.

Steve Malanga showed how the success of Mayors has varied within the U.S., but that the crucial point is that power is given to the people to decide. He explains how the powers of the Mayor may vary from place to place, but as Anthony Browne notes this “could be a good driver for improvement and the evolution of the Mayoral system”.

Whilst all three contributors argue a different standpoint, there is a degree of consensus. Richard Kemp is ultimately not unwilling to countenance the idea of Mayors becoming a greater reality, but he wants answers. It is now up to London and other places to provide them.

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