Bristolians will be asked to vote for or against the idea of a directly elected Mayor in May 2012, in a local referendum proposed in the Government’s Localism Bill. Replacing the present Councillors plus Cabinet system in the City Council with a directly elected Mayor would represent the biggest upheaval to local democracy since the dissolution of Avon County Council. But would it be change for the better? What problems would an elected Mayor solve? What would reorganising the Council cost? Would an elected Mayor ensure stronger leadership and better management of the city? Would a Mayor and local assembly enhance or damage local democracy? Is there enough scope for a Bristol Mayor to make a difference, without more influence on
surrounding councils, or more power to raise and spend revenues? Should mayoral candidates be party politicians, or independents? How long should Mayors and Councillors serve between elections? Would a Mayor make Bristol greater? Join Professor Alex Marsh from the University of Bristol School for Policy Studies and panellists chaired by Bristol-based broadcaster Chris Serle to debate the issues for and against a directly elected Mayor. Panellists include:
Mark Weston, Conservative councillor for Henbury and Deputy Leader of the Bristol Conservative Party
George Ferguson CBE, owner and founder of Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre, and Past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects
Deborah Hallett, strategy consultant and recent adviser to the London Development Agency
Barbara Janke, Liberal Democrat leader of Bristol City Council
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