Directly elected mayor of Cork would draft budgets and policy

Directly elected mayor of Cork would draft budgets and policy
Picture; Larry Cummins /Evening Echo

A DIRECTLY elected mayor of Cork city would be responsible for drafting City Hall’s budget and have the main policymaking role at the local authority.

The details of the proposed role, which will be voted on in a plebiscite held along with May’s local elections, have now been published by Minister for Local Government John Paul Phelan.

The document outlines the executive functions the mayor would take on if the public vote in favour of the role.

The proposals state: “...the directly elected mayor would be responsible for drafting the local authority’s annual budget and working to achieve its adoption by the elected council. This is the single most important function as council approval of the budget facilitates the delivery of all local authority services. The mayor would also draw up the three-year capital budget of the local authority.

“Where legislation requires, the directly elected mayor will be responsible for drafting and presenting policies to the elected council of the local authority, for the council’s approval. Where existing arrangements provide that the chief executive is responsible for setting policy for the local authority, the mayor will assume that responsibility.” 

The role of the mayor would also retain a civic representation element along with executive functions and, he or she, would oversee executive functions and act as leader of the elected council.

However, they will not have a role in allocating housing, approving planning applications or granting licences and permits, enforcement matters and they will not have a casting vote on policies, planning or budgets.

There are two options for the salary of a directly elected mayor. It could be pegged at the basic salary of a TD, which is currently €94,535 or at 100% of a Minister of State’s salary, which is currently €129,854 per annum (consisting of a TD’s salary of €94,535 plus a Minister of State allowance of €35,319).

It is proposed however that the appropriate level of remuneration for the position of a directly elected mayor with executive functions could be equivalent to that of a Minister of State.

A plebiscite regarding the prospect of the position will be held as part of May’s local elections with the first elections to be held in 2021 for a two-and-a-half year term, with subsequent elections being held for five-year terms from 2024 on, in line with council elections.

Limerick and Waterford will also hold plebiscites on directly-elected mayors.

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