I am writing to express my complete dismay at the Mayor Making mayhem on Monday 8th May, at the town hall.
As a citizen of Henley currently not a member of any political party, I simply want what is best for our lovely town.
Mayor Making is I believe a ceremonial gathering, to formalise a prior vote. A vote all our councillors are privileged to be given to decide the Mayor Elect for the year ahead. This was executed on March 28th and was ratified at the last full council meeting on May 3rd. It is also worth noting that all Conservative councillors had when personally asked, agreed to support the Mayor Elect as the local elections approached. Councillor Sam Evans referred to this in her nomination, as reported by the Henley Herald. “We all now have a choice. Are you going to stick with the power of your convictions and vote, for Will as Mayor, as you promised, for the good of Henley? Or are you going to vote for personal and political gain, and forfeit the good of Henley?”
I received an invitation to attend the ceremony and expected a celebration of Will Hamilton ex-Deputy Mayor and current Mayor Elect, to be announced as the new Mayor.
I understand that after the local elections the HRG gained strength resulting in 50/50 split of control. This could have been a great opportunity for the two parties to really put the town first and work in collaboration. I also understand the Conservatives, via the presiding Mayor had the deciding vote, if needed. Based on those facts, together with the verbal personal commitment from all Conservative councillors to support Will Hamilton, as Mayor Elect – he should have been officially announced as Mayor.
In my naivety I was wrong. It appears that a specific councillor reneged on her promise of support just days before the ceremony and made the decision to abstain from the ceremonial vote, fully understanding the implications this would cause.
Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone want to push the two opposing political parties that make up our council, further apart? Well in my eyes for no reason other than self gain or due to some sort of manipulation by others. Either way this move has left me pretty faithless in the majority of our councillors. Specifically those of the HRG and the alleged new Independent Conservative councillor. If our councillors can’t deliver a promise they made amongst themselves how can we, citizens of Henley on Thames trust them to deliver their promises to us. They are here to serve the community not themselves.
The councillor that changed her mind to scupper the original outcome and then reneged on her promise to support the Mayor Elect, was subsequently made Deputy Mayor and allegedly given a promise of being Mayor next year… let’s hope for her sake that her councillor colleagues have better scruples than her, and ultimately keep their word.
Is this a case of a power crazed individual acting to self serve, is it a case of manipulation of an individual with puppeteers pulling the strings? Whatever it is, for the good of Henley on Thames from now on said councillor ‘do the right thing’ for both the community and your own self worth.
The town can and will move on from this. This will be a good year for Henley on Thames because most citizens act with good intent and are true to their word. I look forward to seeing Mayor Kellie Hinton succeed and wish her all the best for the sake of our town. I praise Mayor Elect Will Hamilton for his integrity, professionalism and continued commitment to this town, despite the way he has been treated. Sadly I have no words for Lorraine Hillier.
Citizen of Henley on Thames