AN often outspoken politician was able to add extra bling to his collection as he took up the role as first citizen of the borough.
However newly elected Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Brian Coleman, remained tight-lipped afterwards, declining to comment about his up-coming charity commitments, his position as ceremonial figurehead of the borough and his aims during his year in office.
The 47-year-old ward councillor for Totteridge takes over the mayor’s chain and badge from Councillor John Marshall to become the 45th borough Mayor, but ducked his first opportunity to discuss more about the role to the press, citing previous articles written about alleged indiscrepancies as a politician as the reason.
In his opening speech to the full council, Mr Coleman said he will fulfil the civic duties that come with the position, which according to the council’s own list or mayoral responsibilities, includes a commitment “to promote public involvement in the council’s activities”.
Yet Mr Coleman, who famously declared “the king of bling is back” when re-elected as London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden last year, declined to send any message to the public about the charities he will be supporting, and the important role they play within the community.
For the record, he has chosen to raise money for The Larches Trust, an Edgware based charity which provides support and opportunities for adults over 19 with learning difficulties, and Resources for Autism, which is based in Temple Fortune and helps those with varying levels of autism.
During his mayoral year the mayoress will be Mr Coleman’s mother, Gladys Coleman. Councillor Hugh Rayner was appointed Deputy Mayor, with his wife Susan as Deputy Mayoress.
Council leader, Councillor Mike Freer, nominated Mr Coleman for mayor and said his Tory colleague would work hard for the borough and understood the dignity of the role.
He said: “Whatever people say about Brian, noone should underestimate his commitment to the borough.”
He also said Mr Coleman’s “bulldog defence” of residents would be missed, as the role of mayor is supposed to be non-politicised, and added: “Members from other parties can be sure they will have a fair crack of the whip.”