Wisbech mayor questioned over rules reforms

Wisbech Mayor Making
New Wisbech Mayor Steve Tierney and Deputy Mayor Peter Human
Wisbech Mayor Making New Wisbech Mayor Steve Tierney and Deputy Mayor Peter Human

The new mayor of Wisbech has faced questions over whether he will do his duties fully, after reforms of the town council’s rules were approved.

Steve Tierney was elected to the civic role at the authority’s annual meeting on Friday, with Peter Human chosen as deputy mayor.

But, after changes to the council’s standing orders were passed when the meeting resumed on Monday, the mayor and deputy will no longer be expected sit on all its committees.

Officials say the move is intended to ease the workload on the mayor and deputy mayor, given the number of public engagements they are expected to attend during their terms of office.

But Mr Tierney also serves as both a Fenland district and a Cambridgeshire county councillor.

And, during the period of public question time, David Patrick questioned whether Mr Tierney was able to do his duty “to this town.”

He asked: “Have you taken on too much?

But that came after Mr Tierney had made a statement saying the public forum “was not a mechanism for members of the public to make personal attacks on members of Wisbech Town Council.”

He said comments from the public “may be taken into account” on specific agenda items.

The reforms also established a new system of political proportionality for the council’s committees, similar to the arrangements adopted by many district councils.

The system would guarantee each of the council’s political groupings a seat on each of its committees.

UKIP’s Alan Lay claimed the council was “getting ideas above its station” by introducing the measures.

He said: “This parish council, like 250 odd others, should be non-political.”

But council leader Samantha Hoy accused him of “playing up to the audience.”

Outgoing mayor Garry Tibbs said the idea of proportionality had initially been proposed by the council’s independent group.

He said: “We all agreed with it. To attack it now seems crazy to me.”

Mr Human added: “I’m proud of my political badge. The people of Wisbech voted for us and we stand by our badge. Long may that continue.”