Could Ipswich’s mayors see their role change to ease pressure of role?

Glen Chisholm said it was important to have an understanding employer during his year as mayor.

Glen Chisholm said it was important to have an understanding employer during his year as mayor. - Credit: Su Anderson

Changes could be made to the way Ipswich’s mayoral duties are organised in a bid to make the role more attractive to more councillors.

Sarah Barber has thrown herself into her year as mayor. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Sarah Barber has thrown herself into her year as mayor. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

There are fears that some members of the 48-strong authority are put off from taking on the role because of the amount of work it entails – a particular consideration for those councillors who have a full-time job.

A group of former mayors is now looking at the role and will be making recommendations to the council about how it could be made easier for holders to juggle it with their working lives.

However they will not expected to recommend major changes – and there is no question of abolishing the role in Ipswich.

Glen Chisholm was mayor two years ago and said he found was very important to have an understanding employer.


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He said: “It is a big commitment. It is a very enjoyable role and you meet some really interesting people. It also becomes clear that being the mayor is a really great honour.

“People really appreciate meeting the mayor and the importance that the role has in representing the town.”

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He said he would like to make it easier for people with full-time jobs to take on the role, but there were no simple solutions.

He felt it was important that the mayor should continue in the role of chairing full council meetings – and whatever happened the post had to remain a key element of the council.

Being a councillor is already a major commitment for many people with full-time jobs.

Over the last few years three former mayors who have taken on the role before – Hamil Clarke, Bill Quinton, and Roger Fern – have had a second year of office.

They are all retired from full-time work and were able to give their role as councillor and mayor their full attention.

However there have also been several mayors who, like Mr Chisholm, have juggled full-time work with the mayoralty.

Current mayor Sarah Barber is a full-time nurse at Ipswich Hospital, but that has not prevented her from throwing herself into her civic role – literally!

Among dozens of engagements she has helped launch a trampoline centre in Ipswich and has even thrown herself out of an aircraft in a sponsored parachute jump.

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