“Could you imagine Parliament having elections every year? The country would grind to a halt,” said City of Lincoln Council Leader Darren Grice (pictured).
Grice is backing a new leadership structure for the City Council, which will include a council leader with more powers and local elections every four years.
Currently, the City of Lincoln Council has to hold elections every year, and Grice claims moving to the four-year system would save around £140k over two years.
This money, Grice explained, would be “the easiest way out of the cuts” looming over the City Council following last month’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
Through legislation introduced in 2007, the City Council will have to adopt a new leadership structure by the end of 2010, with elections held in May 2011.
The four-year elections cycle would mean that councillors in each Lincoln ward would have to seek re-election in 2011, enjoying a longer term.
Grice said that the four-year elections model “gives stability to an authority […], and it gives you four years to focus on a work plan that you can be elected on.”
Basically, the system would be similar to the one currently in use, of a leader and cabinet, but the leader would have more powers under the new model.
These powers include the ability for the leader to choose his own cabinet, and the leader having the option of making certain decisions at full councils.
Public’s views to influence decisions
The agree on the proposed leadership model, the City of Lincoln Council would need two-thirds of the council (22 councillors) to vote through any changes.
However, it is believed that the council would have difficulties achieving this rate, as there is currently a hung council, with just one Liberal Democrat councillor.
It is understood that informal agreements have been reached over to the new leadership model, but Labour and Conservative councillors disagreed over the four-year terms.
“Elections are always a risk. I think it’s the right thing to do for any administration of whatever colour, four years of actually getting things done,” said Grice.
“For me, personally, that would be a price worth paying. If I lost control […] that means that at the end of four years I would have to work harder to get back in.
“I don’t think we would win Labour over [the four-year terms decision] unless they were absolutely certain they would take control [of the council].
Grice is now calling for Lincolnites to share their views on the four-year councillor terms proposal.
“If the will of the people is that this is what they would like, then Labour would have to explain themselves at the council why they are not prepared to support us on this and go against the wishes of the public,” Grice added.
Have your say
Responses to this poll will be closed on December 8, and will be shared with the City of Lincoln Council, helping to influence the decision over the new electoral system proposal. Alternatively, you can leave a comment on this story via the form below, or email Darren Grice directly with your views.