Richmond mayor uses casting vote to give himself second term

Richmond mayor Jonathan Preece pictured in the River Swale at last year's boundary walk. Photo: Guy Carpenter.

Richmond’s mayor has defended his decision to use his casting vote to give himself another term.

The current mayor Jonathan Preece and fellow councillor Lorraine Hodgson put their names forward for the role at last night’s full council meeting.

With the vote tied at six all, Cllr Preece, who as major chaired the meeting, used his casting vote to give himself a second year in the position.

The process has prompted consternation among some town councillors.

Cllr Preece said it had been a “very, very difficult decision” to stand again.

He added: “My decision was made on the grounds that I feel I had a lot to offer to the town council as chairman.

“I’m trying to work for the good of the town and I feel that I’m in the best position to rise to those challenges.

“I feel that I’m prepared to give up my freedom to work for the town.”

Cllr Preece added: “I count Cllr Hodgson as a friend and I am sorry that I have hurt her.”

The mayor added that there was “no chance” he would stand again for the role next year.

He pointed out that normally there would be 15 councillors taking part in the vote, meaning a tie was not possible.

However, the council only has 12 at present following last week’s election and is looking to co-opt three more.

Cllr Hodgson said she was very disappointed at the outcome.

She added: “I was very much looking forward to representing Richmond and felt it was time the town had a female mayor,

“I was disappointed the council did not take up Cllr World’s suggestion to have a second vote — putting both names in a hat would of perhaps been fairer.

“But I will continue with my charity work and work in the community and wish Cllr Preece well.

“If anyone would like raffle tickets for Richmond Meet they should get in touch with me.”

Although no councillors have wanted to be named, Richmondshire Today has spoken to several who have voiced their dissatisfaction with the outcome.

One said: “What he did was perfectly legal and nobody would have minded had he not been a very mediocre mayor for the last 12 months.

“In previous times councillors have doubled up, so to speak, and been mayor for a second time, but only at the request of the public because they were doing a great job, or because nobody else wanted to do it.

“That’s not the case here.”

For details on applying to be co-opted onto Richmond Town Council get in touch with the authority here.

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