Cllr Diane Taylor to continue to serve as Mayor
Local authorities were granted a number of emergency powers through the Coronavirus Regulations 2020, including being able to have virtual meetings as well as not to hold the Council Annual General Meeting, at which the Mayor is officially appointed.
Due to the exceptional circumstances, the decision was taken to postpone the borough council’s Annual General Meeting, due to be held tonight (Tuesday 19 May), until May 2021. This means that Cllr Diane Taylor will remain in the office as Mayor for a further year.
This decision has been taken following discussions with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and with the endorsement of the leaders of the political groups.
Cllr Taylor said: "My past year as Mayor has been an amazing time for both me and my Consort and Chaplain Andy. It has been wonderful to meet so many of the residents of this borough and find out more about their outstanding achievements, generosity and hard work.
“After much consideration and discussion with the Deputy Mayor and others, it was decided that the time simply isn’t right for the handover as we continue to cope with the current pandemic. It will therefore be a privilege to continue to serve as Mayor for this coming year – whatever that year brings.”
Cllr Onnalee Cubitt, who was due to be Mayor for the 2020/21 council year, will stay on as Deputy Mayor until she is officially appointed as Mayor next May.
Cllr Cubitt said: “Cllr Diane Taylor and her husband Andy Taylor, the Mayor’s Chaplain have been an outstanding civic partnership this year. During these difficult times for everyone and with extreme social distancing likely to continue for the foreseeable future, we are extremely fortunate that the Mayor has kindly agreed to extend her tenure. We are blessed to have such a wonderful and experienced first citizen at the helm to support us through this dreadful pandemic.
“I am honoured to continue serving the Mayor as Deputy Mayor and to do whatever is necessary to support her and the citizens of our amazing borough. Stay well. Stay safe."
As the first citizen of the borough, Cllr Taylor will continue to represent the people of the borough, as well as chairing Council meetings virtually and raising money and awareness for her chosen charities.
Restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic have seen mayoral fundraising events and civic engagements cancelled, but Cllr Taylor has continued to carry out her role connecting with our local community using virtual platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype to join meetings and events. She has already recorded several social media video messages to the borough during the pandemic, the most recent being when she rallied people to celebrate VE Day at home and to join her in the Nation's Toast to the Heroes of World War Two.
The Mayor has also visited the community hubs to see the work that they are doing to support vulnerable people.
The role of mayor is non-political and the appointment is made on the basis of the length of service.
The first virtual meeting - Development Control Committee - will be held on Wednesday (20 May), with another the following week on Wednesday 27 May. Dates are due to be set soon for other types of virtual meetings, including Council meetings, with all councillors, which are chaired by the Mayor.