Ramsey Commissioners are to consult the public on whether or not to reduce the number of candidates from 12 to nine.
The board was split on the issue when it was discussed at its monthly meeting.
Chairman Nigel Malpass was strongly in favour of slimming-down the number because he believed more could be achieved. He was also in favour of merging the town’s two wards.
Tony Harmer agreed, saying that, historically, 12 members were needed to deal with all the responsibilities they had, but little by little, Government had taken those responsibilities off them and, therefore, fewer members were required.
Laurie Hooper disagreed, saying that 12 members would be needed if government kept its promise to give responsibilities back.
Alex Allinson was in favour of retaining the status quo. ‘If you reduce the number of members, you will end up with an executive committee of greying men making decisions for the town,’ he said. ‘We want to keep it alive and vibrant – and we want to encourage more women to stand. Reduced numbers would result in apathy among the voters’.
Graham Jones and Steven Bevan both remarked that, when they joined the board some two years ago, they had been in favour of a smaller board. They had now changed their minds, because experience had shown them that 12 members were needed to share the workload.
‘We have got a jolly good board this time, with a wealth of experience and I would hate to see that lost’, said Mr Jones.
Richard Radcliffe was totally opposed to ‘slimming down’ numbers: ‘If you cut your members you risk losing collective knowledge’, he said. He was also against merging the wards. ‘Leave well alone’, he advised.
Geoff Quayle agreed with Mr Radcliffe.
It was agreed that the people of the town should be given the opportunity to express their views on both matters and a consultation document is to be drawn up.