Mayoral and Councillors Role
The Mayor and the Councillors have the following roles:
- Setting the policy direction of Council
- Monitoring the performance of Council
- Representing the interests of the district (on election all members must make a declaration that they will perform their duties faithfully and impartially, and according to their best skill and judgment in the best interests of the district)
- Employing the Chief Executive Officer (under the Local Government Act the Council employs the Chief Executive Officer, who in turn employs all other staff on its behalf).
The Mayoral Role
The Mayor is elected by the district as a whole and as one of the elected members shares the same responsibilities as other members of Council.
In addition the Mayor has the following roles:
- Presiding member at Council meetings. The Mayor is responsible for ensure the orderly conduct of business during the meetings (as determined in Standing Orders).
- Advocate on behalf of the community. This role may involve promoting the community and representing its interests. Such advocacy will be most effective where it is carried out with the knowledge and support of the Council.
- Ceremonial head of Council.
- Provider of leadership to Council and feedback to other elected members on teamwork and chairing of Committees.
The Deputy Mayor Role
The Deputy Mayor is appointed by the Mayor after the triennial election. The Deputy Mayor exercises the same roles as other Elected Members. In addition, if the Mayor is absent or incapacitated, or if the office of Mayor is vacant, then the Deputy Mayor must perform all of the responsibilities and duties, and may exercise the powers of the Mayor (as summarised above). The Deputy Mayor may be removed from office by resolution of Council.
The Mayor may create one or more committees of Council. A committee chairperson is responsible for presiding over meetings of the committee, ensuring that the committee acts within the powers delegated by Council, as set out in Council resolutions confirming the Mayor’s governance structure and as amended by time to time through Council resolution. A committee chairperson may be removed from office by resolution of Council. Elected Members have specific obligations as to their conduct in the following legislation:
Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002, which includes obligations to act as a good employer in respect of the Chief Executive Officer, and to abide by the current code of conduct and standing orders.
- The Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 which regulates the conduct of elected members in situations where there is, or could be, a conflict of interest between their duties as an elected member and their financial interests (either direct or indirect).
- The Secret Commissions Act 1910, which prohibits elected members from accepting gifts or rewards which could be seen to sway them to perform their duties in a particular way, and the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 to ensure appropriate governance arrangements to provide for effective monitoring and risk reduction for financial services.
- The Crimes Act 1961 regarding the acceptance of gifts for acting in a certain way and the use of official information for private profit.
- The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 ensuring that conduct of public business is transparent and publicly accessible.
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 ensuring that the safety of our employees, visitors, customers, contractors, volunteers and the general public is of paramount importance and maintained.
All Elected Members are required to adhere to a code of conduct. Adopting such a code is a requirement of the Local Government Act 2002. Once adopted, such a code may only be amended by a 75 per cent or more vote of the Council. The code sets out Council’s understanding and expectations of how the Mayor and Councillors will relate to one another, to staff, to the media and to the general public in the course of their duties. It also covers disclosure of information that is received by or is in the possession of Elected Members, and contains details of the sanctions that Council may impose if an individual breaches the code. A copy of the Code of Conduct is available here.