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Mallon calls for referendum on whether to keep elected mayor as he signals plans to stand down
MIDDLESBROUGH Mayor Ray Mallon has confirmed he will not stand for office again in 2015 and revealed he wants a referendum on whether the elected poisition should remain.
The former Cleveland Police officer, who has been Mayor since 2002, said he planned to convince Middlesbrough Council that a referendum on the issue should take place in May 2014.
In a lengthy statement released today (MON MARCH 10), Mr Mallon said: “Prior to the last Mayoral election, I stated that if elected, this would be my last term as the elected Mayor and I am now confirming that I will not seek re-election in May 2015.
“At the end of this term I will have completed 13 years in the role and I concluded many months ago that in May 2015 it will be the right time for somebody new to undertake the role who can bring new ideas in taking the town forward.
“Over the past 12 months, I have had detailed conversations with a number of people with regard to whether the town would be better served from May 2015 by the elected Mayoral model or leader model.
“Both have advantages and disadvantages, but the last time a referendum occurred to determine this question was in October 2001.
“I have concluded that a referendum should take place, so that the public can decide on what form of governance they would prefer."
He went on to say that his decision to announce that he would not be restanding as Mayor was to allow an “informed debate” on a referendum and a smooth transition for any future political arrangements.
He added: “I owe the public of Middlesbrough a great deal as they gave me the opportunity to be the elected Mayor and elected me on three occasions.
“However, I often say that the best time to leave a party is when you least want to leave.”
Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor, Councillor Dave Budd, said Mr Mallon had made no secret of the fact that he would not stand for re-election in 2015.
He said: “Ray never leaves anything to chance - he planned his entry and he has planned his exit.”
Middlesbrough Council Chief Executive Gill Rollings said: “The Mayor has been giving much thought over the last year or so to the future leadership arrangements for the Council.
“We have had a number of conversations about this since I became chief executive. He has been clear throughout that he did not wish to stand in 2015 and has indicated this publicly on a number of occasions, but we agreed that setting the council’s budget for 2013/14 would take priority.
“The Mayor has led us successfully through consultation on a very challenging cuts process for the coming year.”