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Elected mayor role could be scrapped

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Councillors are to be asked if they want to hold a public referendum over whether to keep the elected mayor role on North Tyneside Council.

A report is due to go before members on 23 November with a view to either maintaining the current mayor and cabinet model of governance or changing to a different system.

The proposal comes as the North East Combined Authority, of which North Tyneside is a member, looks set to adopt a directly elected mayor for the region as part of a devolution deal due to be announced on Friday.

North Tyneside adopted the elected mayor model in May 2002, following a referendum held the previous November. The mayor is the council’s principal public spokeswoman, is the key figure in setting its political direction, and appoints the cabinet and deputy mayor.

Labour’s Norma Redfearn is the current elected mayor and the party also holds 49 of the 60 seats in the council chamber.

Should members vote to hold a public referendum, it would take place on 5 May 2016 alongside the local elections and the election of Northumbria’s police and crime commissioner.

Any change of governance would be implemented from May 2017.

A council statement said that ahead of next month’s meeting of full council an “engagement process” would take place to consider what alternative options to the current governance arrangements should appear on the ballot paper, with an executive cabinet or committee system under consideration.

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