From the Advertiser, Published date: 24 July 2015:
Calling potential new councillors
YOUR town needs you — to play a part of Rotherham’s recovery by standing for the “new” borough council.
The all-out elections next May will be a watershed moment and create a fresh organisation, lead commissioner Sir Derek Myers says.
A campaign will be launched next week to attract a higher-standard crop of council candidates to take Rotherham forward.
Sir Derek, one of five commissioners brought in by the Government to run ailing RMBC, said: “From May, 2016, this will be a new organisation.
“There will be new senior staff, it’s quite likely that half of the councillors will not have been part of the old council.
“Just by simple arithmetic, you can tell that it’s not going to be the same place.
“Bluntly, if the candidates we get are not committed to change, then we commissioners will be here for longer.”
The Be A Councillor campaign, being run with the Local Government Association, invites fresh faces to find out if they are suited to public service.
Similar campaigns in other areas have seen existing local councillors talk about their roles but this will see the LGA running the workshops.
Sir Derek said: “We’ve done this deliberately because the message is that it will be a new council they will be joining.
“Trust and satisfaction in this council are less than in others. Given that we know that, we’re looking at what we can do.
“We want people who offer themselves for this to feel they are up to the task and can hit the ground running.”
An initial online quiz will go live on Monday to eliminate unsuitable candidates at the off.
This will be followed by September workshops — and political parties are likely to value the course completion certificate when selecting their candidates.
The aim is not to create barriers deterring good people but to invite more people to discover if being a councillor is for them.
Sir Derek said: “It’s not about age, or family responsibility. We want people from all ethnic groups, women and men, people who have lived here all their lives and others who perhaps bring different experiences and expectations.”