Tradition versus practicality is a topic of debate
A BERWICK Town Councillor has called on the body to more rigorously observe its traditions.
Presenting a resolution to January’s full meeting of Berwick Town Council, Councillor Hazel Bettison said that the mayor of Berwick, who doubles as chairman of the town council, should be suitably robed for full council meetings, while councillors in attendance should dress “respectably”.
But Mayor John Roberston said he would be reluctant to introduce a formal dress code, as it might deter others from becoming town councillors.
Proposing to amend the standing order to include various conditions, Councillor Bettison read her resolution, which said that the Town Council had its roots firmly set in “one of the most historical and cultural identities of any town or city in the present United Kingdom”. Key to that history and tradition, she said, was the civic and pastoral role of the mayor and sheriff of the town, accompanied by the mayoress and sheriff’s lady.
“In addition to that civic and pastoral role, the mayor has historically taken the role as chairman of full council meetings, where the day to day business of the preceding working committees is ratified,” Councillor Bettison told members. “And at that meeting the mayor and sheriff, accompanied by the town clerk, have maintained our rich and colourful historical tradition.”
She added: “It should be remembered that a considerable amount of time and effort was expended during the last government reorganisation to secure the historic future of the mayor and the sheriff as our principal civic leaders.”
In a bid to preserve and maintain the traditions of the former Berwick Borough Council, Councillor Bettison, who represents Lower Spittal, proposed to amend the standing order so that the mayor and supporting party would have to wear their robes for full town council meetings, and councillors attending the meetings would be required to dress “respectfully” to honour the mayor and the authority from the Queen.
Speaking at last month’s full council meeting, Councillor Bettison said that dressing formally for full council meetings showed respect. But chairman John Robertson said he didn’t care if councillors turned up wearing a boiler suit, as long as they had something constructive to say.
The issue proved contentious, and with time running out it was decided to defer discussions and a vote on the amendments until the next full meeting of the council.
Councillor Bettison is also proposing further amendments to standing orders, to clarify administrative aspects and time scales of announcing a mayor and sheriff, and seeking a deputy mayor.
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 7 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west