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Gordon Oliver wants ceremonial mace back at meetings

It was cut to save money

The cost of security to bring the ornamental staff from Torquay Town Hall to meetings of the full council at the Riviera International Centre was cut in a freeze on non-urgent spending introduced in August to prevent a £1m deficit.

Now the elected mayor wants the mace, a symbol of the council’s authority, to come back to meetings at the conference centre, around a mile from the town hall where it is kept.

Mayor Oliver has put forward a motion to the meeting of the full council today (Wednesday 5th December), asking for support to return the mace.

His motion asks the council to agree to “make the necessary arrangements to ensure that in future the mace is always present at all future Council meetings”.

It adds: “It is a long and established tradition and retains the linkage the authority has to the Monarchy which is part of the national structure of government in this country.”

But Liberal Democrat Nick Pentney has filed a counter motion, saying the cost should be classed as non-essential spending following £76m of Government cuts and this year’s cost-saving measures.

He highlights advice that decisions taken by the council are legally binding in the absence of the mace.

Cllr Pentney, Tormohun, is proposing the council’s constitution is changed so that the mace and other civic regalia are “no longer used at council meetings to ensure the council is prioritising best use of its limited resources”.

He is asking the council to agree they should only be used at its annual meetings and Remembrance Sunday.

The question of the missing mace was first raised at meeting in October, when Liberal Democrat Adrian Sanders, Clifton with Maidenway, revealed it was no longer being brought to full council meetings to save money.

The cost of the security arrangements for the transfer of the items have not been disclosed.

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