A COUPLE of Sundays ago I was in Wells for the installation of the new High Sheriff of Somerset. The service in the Cathedral and the installation are steeped in history.
Judges, barristers and other legal officers come from across Somerset and are joined by the Lord Lieutenant and most of the Mayors and chairmen in the County. It was an honour to take part in such an historical event.
Many people assume that because I attend such events, I must be paid.|Like all the other councillors on Ilminster Town Council I am a volunteer. We are not paid to be councillors and we claim no travel expenses for the meetings and events we attend on behalf of the town. Most of us are in full-time employment.
The other day I mentioned to a resident that I was moving into new offices. They assumed that these new offices must be for the Mayor. They were somewhat surprised when I said the new offices were for my business and that I actually had a full-time job as well as being Mayor.
Yet most Tuesday evenings you will find us in the council chamber for one council meeting or another. Even with understanding work colleagues and bosses it is difficult to juggle work and council duties, which can mean missing meetings or not being available.
I appreciate how annoying it can be for residents when they cannot get immediate access to their councillors but I also know that my colleagues on the council try to get back to people as quickly as they can.
The role of a councillor is never easy – we have to be objective in debate and decision making; we cannot have a personal agenda; we have to accept that we will not please all of the people all of the time; most importantly we have to remember we are there to represent all the residents and do what is best for the town as a whole.