Since being elected the Mayor of Doncaster last year Peter Davies, of the English Democrats, has faced the most disgraceful efforts to frustrate him for carrying our his mandate. For instance Labour councillors managed to block his Council Tax cut. The fact it was possible for them to do so shows the system to be flawed. The Audit Commission have issued a report stating the Council is "dysfunctional." The report blames everybody - the Mayor, the officers and the councillors.
The Mayor has been "antagonistic" towards his opponents, they say. The charge that he is not suited to achieving "consensus" is probably one he would plead guilty to. But I'm not sure the people of Doncaster elected him to achieve "consensus" with those who had been been running the show hitherto. They elected him to deliver his promises of radical change. He was elected last year to deal with serious, long standing failings. The Donnygate affair saw 21 Labour councillors convicted of fraud. Last year another report described the behaviour of some of the Labour councillors as "venomous, vicious, and vindictive."
Anyway this report's main criticism is for the obstruction that has been put in his place. The interim Chief Executive "undermined perceptions of the role of Chief Executive as an impartial servant of the Mayor and the Council."
Some influential councillors place their antagonism towards the Mayor and Mayoral system, and the achievements of their political objectives, above the needs of the people of Doncaster, and their duty to lead the continuous improvement of services. The Scrutiny process within the Council, which could act to hold the Mayor and Cabinet properly to account, and help him develop his policies, is instead being used to undermine the Mayor, and develop separate policies and budgets. The process of budget-setting itself is not robust.
A third of the seats on Doncaster are up for election on May 6. Perhaps that will help break the logjam. At the moment the Labour and the Lib Dems have enough councillors to cause deadlock. At present local government has a fault line where a big majority of councillors favour one view and the directly elected mayor another.