Being a mayor - the complete guide

TO most people, mayors are bigwigs that turn up now and again wearing chains and other regalia.They dutifully arrive at civic functions and ceremonies, and are at the front of the queue to greet visiting dignitaries on behalf of their town or borough.

TO most people, mayors are bigwigs that turn up now and again wearing chains and other regalia.

They dutifully arrive at civic functions and ceremonies, and are at the front of the queue to greet visiting dignitaries on behalf of their town or borough.

But the life of a mayor is a lot more elaborate than most people think.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council, in Bury St Edmunds, has for the first time in its history unlocked the secrets of the mayoralty protocol that has, for the past 30 years, existed only in the minds of a handful of staff.


You may also want to watch:


And the council is also being asked to decide on some new rules of engagement for future mayors, such as whether they should be entitled to a mobile telephone, or if they should be allowed to open shops and factories.

The draft protocol document, which is to be adopted by full council and used as a reference document by the mayor, deputy mayor, and mayoralty staff throughout the civic year, includes a list of things the current mayor may or may not due during his, or her, time in office.

Most Read

The mayor can, for example, present local organisations or young visitors to the town with a badge or pen, and must accept around 95% of the 250 or so engagements he or she will be invited to throughout the year.

More than £93,000 is set aside in the budget each year for the Mayoralty Service, including £1,000 for clothes and uniforms, a £4,000 personal allowance, £250 for civic gifts, and £2,500 on printing and postage.

The code of behaviour also advises the mayor to rate royal visits as being top of the 13-strong list of events that are appropriate to attend, with charity fundraising only featuring at number 10, just above minor local events such as openings and events organised by nearby local authorities.

Frank Warby, who was elected as mayor of St Edmundsbury in May this year, said it was a “privilege and an honour” to serve the borough.

“It is an ambassadorial role, and I am very proud to support the borough in everything it does,” he said.

“I think it is very important to have the protocol written down, so that people know there are rules about what we can, and cannot do.”

As well as his full-time job as a property manager, Mr Warby is required to carry out a number of extra curricular duties, which can range from being taken over the North Sea in a refuelling tanker, to visiting an old lady on her 100th birthday.

“You have to prioritise your life. Your mayoral duties come first, then the council, then your job,” said Mr Warby.

“But there are a lot of things to think about - you have to be careful when choosing gifts so as not to offend anyone, and as for opening shops, I think it is not a problem as long as it is of benefit to the local economy.

“As mayor, you are the borough's number one citizen, and it's definitely not just a jolly, but very hard work.”

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter