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Chairman's Column - 4 January 2021

Published on Monday, 4th January 2021

Chairman of the council Cllr Mark Heard

What is a Democratically Elected Councillor?

"Maldon District has a population of around 65,000 residents (2018 Data) and includes (naturally) Maldon, Burnham-on-Crouch, Southminster and other rural villages from Great Totham in the North, Burnham in the South, Bradwell in the East, and Purleigh in the West and indeed all the villages in between.

"The District itself is divided up into areas called ‘Wards’. These have between 2800 and 3400 people in each one; and have two District Councillors to represent those local residents. Others like, Maldon East, Tillingham and Tollesbury have one Councillor representing between 1600 and 1900 residents each.

"The election of District Councillors is usually held on the first Thursday in May every four years (2019, 2023 etc) and they become a local government elected member. In Essex we have 12 district (type) councils, and Maldon has 31 District Councillors (known as ‘Members’ within the organisation) who are there to represent YOU.

"Councillors may form themselves into groupings which are sometimes based around political parties or Independent groups. The largest group takes charge and forms an Administration filling the leading positions on the Council.

"The Chairman of the Council and a Vice Chairman is elected by the whole Council at each annual meeting and remains in office until a successor is appointed. The Council’s political head is called ‘The Leader’, who is the leader chosen by members of the largest party or group on the Council and there is also a Deputy Leader chosen.

"Most meetings where decisions on council functions are dealt with are filled by ‘politically balanced’ Committees where Committee Chairman and Vice Chairs are also appointed. These committees are subject to the general oversight of the whole Council. The smaller groups will normally take on the role of opposition to constructively test and challenge the work and views of the Administration.

"Local representation in Maldon has changed a great deal since May 2019 and today Maldon District Council comprises 15 Independent Councillors, 9 Conservative, 4 members belonging to a Democratic Alliance Group and one Non-aligned Councillor.

"Every group of more than two persons also elects their Leader to lead their group and the group with the largest number of Councillors forms the Administration. You can find your Councillor by visiting democracy.maldon.gov.uk  then click on ‘Councillors where you can find your local Councillors alphabetically, by political party, or grouping or by the ward they represent.

"There is of course much more to this, but I wanted to give you an oversight of how the Council works and to explain some of the terms you may often hear.

"As always Stay Safe and Take Care!"

Cllr Mark S. Heard 

Chairman of Maldon District Council