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Orion Cinema

Burgess Hill Gets A Mayor The People Didn't Choose

29th August 2011
By Peter Chapman

At the start of August, Burgess Hill Town Council announced that Christopher Thomas-Atkin is now the Mayor of Burgess Hill.

This decision was made by the 17 members of the town council.

Andrew Barrett-Miles is now occupying the role of Council Leader and will be responsible for the future development of the town and the Town Council (A role that seems much better than being Mayor)

The real issue here is why weren't the public consulted over this reorgansiation at the top? More to the point, why didn't local residents get to choose the mayor?

In the press release from Burgess Hill Town Council, Christopher Thomas-Atkin said
"It is a privilege to represent Burgess Hill, which is regarded by many as a progressive Town and proud of its origins.  The role of Mayor is widely accepted as being the civic leader of a Town and its first citizen, which I have been proud to perform in all but name over the past three years."

Now, this may be a 'privilege' for Mr Thomas-Atkin, but it's not one that he has earnt. He was selected by his fellow councillors and not by the public. Would the public have specficially chosen Christopher Thomas-Atkin to be their 'first citizen'? This we will never know as the decision appears not to have been made democratically.

What should have happened is that the public should have been able to nominate any member of the public to be Mayor and a vote taken place where the people of Burgess Hill make the final choice.

Part of the role of Mayor is to carry out ceremonial and civic duties. This is not beyond the majority of people to handle.

There are many hardworking members of the community that would have been very deserving of being the Mayor of Burgess Hill but have been robbed of the chance by the 'closed shop'.

Right then, here's a poll that you can vote on, quite simply, should the public have been allowed to choose who they wanted as Mayor?

Talk to us - Are you happy with the new Mayor of Burgess Hill?
Are you happy with Christopher Thomas-Atkin being Mayor of Burgess Hill. Was it wrong of the council to create the roll of Mayor without consulting the public? Would you have liked to have chosen our new Mayor? If so, from an existing member of the council, or through nominating any member of the public that would best represent the people? Tell us now by leaving us a comment below or by emailing us

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