New Honiton mayor - ‘This is my community and I am here to represent it.’
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:03 18 May 2018
Honiton’s new mayor has pledged to re-establish ties with the community over the coming year.
At 25, Councillor Henry Brown is the town’s youngest-ever mayor, but he said his experience on the council, including being chair of its finance committee – has helped him cut his teeth in politics.
Cllr Brown, who is son of former Honiton mayor Cllr Caroline Kolek, said: “For the past three years I have been chair of finance.
“This has been a wearing and thankless task as someone is always to credit for a right decision, but I am squarely to blame for a wrong one.
“I have learnt a lot about how politics - even at a town level - takes its toll.
“Last year I was elected deputy mayor after putting my own interests for the chair aside for a year and instead supporting Cllr John Zarczynski to do a one-year term before I would stand for office.
“As an ex-officio I had the privilege of being privy to all the inner workings of a council before it comes to the chamber for discussion. It has truly been fascinating.”
Cllr Brown said he will continue to be ‘fully open’ with his council colleagues and members of the public as he looks to repair the council’s relationship with the community.
It has been a testing 12 months for the council, which began with the bombshell resignation of newly-appointed mayor Ashley Delasalle at the start of May.
One fifth of the council then quit either side of a failed a bid to dissolve the troubled authority.
However, under the guidance of former mayor Cllr John Zarczynski and deputy Cllr Brown, the council began to repair itself – and its public image.
Cllr Brown said: “The Nolan principles of public office resonate with me and I do not believe it is right to ask to lead if you are not prepared to be fully open with your councillors and townspeople.
“I will continue this attitude over the coming year. My email address is available on the council website and I welcome any one to voice their concerns to me as we work better as a cohesive community.
“The past year has been important for setting straight our internal affairs, something I fully supported.
“However, in all of this internal inspection we have lost ties with the community and user groups we are created to support and represent.
“I believe we have fallen behind and not to propel ourselves back in to these organisations to show that we do listen and we do value the work so many organisations do in this town.
“It was in my last year as Chair of Finance that we were able to double our grant fund to local organisations which I hope to see incremental increase year on year.
“I was born here, went to school here, used the youth club and scout hall here. This is my community and I am here to represent it.”
Mayor pleased with appointment of deputy
Honiton’s new mayor says he is ‘very pleased’ with the appointment of his deputy.
Councillor Duncan Sheridan-Shaw was elected unopposed at Tuesday’s meeting.
Cllr Brown said: “I’m very pleased to have Cllr Duncan Sheridan-Shaw as my deputy.
“He has been instrumental in his role on the employment committee and is an excellent representative on the chamber of commerce.
“Together, we, along with the whole council will work towards a better future for Honiton.”