I support the first option on the ballot paper – “first is best for Nottingham” - it keeps a serious role for the 55 Councillors elected to represent neighbourhoods across the city. Power in too few hands is a bad thing.
Nottingham City will see a constitutional first after the national government asks Nottingham’s people to vote in referendum on how the City Council should be run. This referendum driven by central government is on an issue that hardly anyone has raised on the Doorstep. The previous elections for councillors took place less than a year ago when the public voted for 55 representatives to represent the neighbourhood from wards across the city.
This could be negated by a vote not many people care about. Only now are some people on the Internet trying to drum up interest via their blogs.
When the local newspaper last tried to drum up interest, the most senior spokesperson change was a defeated city councillor.
My experience in asking people about the idea of an executive mayor is that I have to spend my time explaining the idea before people will reply and that we are finding about two thirds of the public are against change.
It gets worse there is no simple way of explaining the choices on the voting paper;
The only easy way to describe choices are as a first option whereby local people elect councillors from across the city remain in charge or a second option for an elected executive mayor.
The second option has now been supported in public by the second party in Nottingham – the Conservatives.
In a desperate effort to reduce the costs of an elective executive mayor the tories propose the abolition of the post of chief executive. This model failed horrendously in Bristol city some 10 years ago and now the Conservatives are also calling for the abolition of the Sheriff of Nottingham just as The city is working harder to maximise economic benefits from its association with Robin Hood.
The biggest concern here is low turnout in a referendum would mean more motivated advocates for change will win.
There are 2 options on the ballot paper, and the first option allows Councillors to run the council, whilst the second option only allows councillors to veto change.