History of the Mayoralty
The Mayor of the Solihull Council is elected annually by the council from among the elected councillors. By statute, the election of the Mayor must be the first business transacted at the annual meeting.
The Mayor continues his/her term of office, unless they resign or becomes disqualified, until their successor becomes entitled to act as Mayor.
The role of the Mayor
The primary role of a Mayor is to preside over meetings of the council. If they are not present at any meeting of the council, then the Deputy Mayor has to preside.
The Mayor must have a full knowledge of the provisions of standing orders but they can normally consult the Chief Executive. The Mayor's decision on the interpretation of standing orders and on any questions not provided for is final. The ruling of the Mayor on a point of order or on a personal explanation is not open to discussion. When the Mayor rises during a debate the member speaking should resume their seat and the council should remain silent.
The mace is an emblem of authority and its appearance indicates that the Mayor is acting in their official capacity: likewise its absence shows that the proceedings are not fully official. The mace is carried by the macebearer, usually on the right shoulder and immediately precedes the Mayor. The mace is reversed in the presence of the Sovereign. It is a symbol of the Royal authority delegated by the Sovereign to the Mayor and is thus redundant in the Monarch's presence.
The mace (a club or bludgeon) was originally a weapon of war and was one of the most primitive weapons produced by man, but fell into disuse with the advent of the longbow and the introduction of gunpowder from China in the early 13th century.
Solihull's mace was presented to the borough in 1954 by Captain Oliver Bird. It weighs approximately 2.5 kilos (5lbs. 10oz.), is made of silver heavily gilded and contains approximately 300 pieces. The top is affixed with the Royal Crown signifying that Mayoral office is held under the authority of the Crown. The knob is divided into 4 panels showing:
- the arms of Solihull
- the Bear and Staff of Warwick
- Parish Church of St Alphege
- an inscription: "Presented by Captain Oliver Bird, MC JP to the Borough of Solihull on the occasion of its incorporation on 24 May 1954"
The Civic Suite
The Civic Suite is the home of the Mayoralty. It also houses the Register Office on the lower ground floor, the Members' Offices on the middle floor, and the Council Chamber, Committee Rooms and Mayor's Parlour on the top floor.
The Mayor's Parlour
There are some items from the Civic Plate in the Parlour, and some paintings from the Mayoral art collection. The Parlour is for the exclusive use of the Mayor and their guests. Entry to the Parlour is by invitation only, and guests are announced by a member of the Civic Suite staff.
Visitors to the Civic Suite
The Mayor will receive many visitors from all walks of life, all parts of the borough and countrywide in the Mayor's Parlour.
Some visitors may request a meeting, others may be invited in by the Mayor, and there may be occasions when the Mayor is asked to host civic or council events in the Mayor's Parlour.
The Mayor may receive groups (students, overseas visitors, school children, clubs, associations etc.) in the Civic Suite. They are greeted with a drink in the refreshment room and the Mayor is announced. The Mayor may wish to chat casually with several groups before showing them the Council Chamber, where a short talk on the council procedures and representatives is usually well received. The Mayor may also allow them to see the Parlour, and finish up with the group being addressed by the Mayor's Attendant in front of the Civic Plate in reception.
The Council Chamber
The Council Chamber is used primarily for council meetings. However, it is also used for conferences, meetings and annual general meetings.