The role of the Mayor
The Mayor of Thurrock has 2 main roles.
The Mayor is the 'first citizen' of the borough. This means within the borough they rank above everyone except the:
- Royal Family
- Lord Lieutenant of Essex – the region's personal representative of the monarch
In this civic role, the Mayor meets individuals and groups to honour them for their contributions to the life of the borough, and to promote civic pride.
The role of the Mayor is different from that of a councillor and the Mayor acts in a non-political manner when carrying out the civic role.
The Deputy Mayor will carry out the civic role of the Mayor when the Mayor cannot do so.
Chair of the Council
The Mayor is the chairperson for full meetings of the Council.
It is the Mayor's responsibility as chairperson:
- to make sure the Council's business can be carried out efficiently and with regard to the rights of councillors and the interests of the community
- to uphold and promote the purposes of the constitution, and to interpret the constitution when necessary
As chairperson, the Mayor also makes sure any full meeting of the Council is:
- a forum for the debate of matters of concern to the local community
- the place at which councillors who are not on the executive – that is, the Cabinet – are able to hold the executive to account
It is the duty of the Mayor to make sure council meetings are conducted:
- in a seemly manner
- in line with the law – the Local Government Act 1972
- in line with the council's constitution
The Mayor must be the chairperson if present at the meeting. If the Mayor is not present, then the Deputy Mayor can be chairperson if chosen to do so by the Council.
It is in the power of the Mayor to call a special meeting of the Council at any time if prior notice is given. The Mayor may also change the time and place of a scheduled Council meeting, in consultation with political party whips and the council's Chief Executive, if notice is given.
Special privileges accorded to the Mayor at Council meetings. These include:
- provision for a second vote (called a 'casting vote') if there are an equal number of votes on any question – the Mayor makes an initial vote and, in the case of equality, may then use the casting vote to decide the outcome
- 'precedence of the Mayor' (or chairperson) – this means that when the Mayor stands up during a debate, any councillor standing must sit down and the meeting must be silent