COLUMNIST: Mike Mendoza on his role as chairman

Worthing mayor Bob Smytherman with Lizzi Abrahams from Sussex Swing, left, and Adur chairman Mike Mendoza with organiser Carleen Smith W09210H14
Worthing mayor Bob Smytherman with Lizzi Abrahams from Sussex Swing, left, and Adur chairman Mike Mendoza with organiser Carleen Smith W09210H14

THE diary is starting to fill up for my final few months as chairman of the great district.

I ended February giving a talk to Shoreham Probus Club, who invited me to talk for 20 to 30 minutes about the role of chairman.

I explained that to talk about the actual role would take just a few minutes, so I started with my own history and how I found myself in my current position, then explained the actual role that I play.

After that, we had a Q&A session which was very interesting for me to gauge the feel of our community as to what is going on in the district and to see if it is felt that we are doing it right as ‘public servants’.

The probus club is made up of retired local business professionals who meet on the last Wednesday of the month at The Amsterdam public house. Sadly, this long-established organisation is loosing members due to obvious reasons and they desperately need to recruit new blood. So, if you are a retired professional, or know of a retired professional, and would like to meet regularly with like-minded people and put right all the wrongs in the world, then this is for you. Feel free to make contact with Michael Allen on 01273 594702 for details.

One of the questions that came up the other day, and this is a question that I have been asked several times before, is what is the difference between the chairman of Adur and the leader of Adur?

Size wise not a lot as we both need to loose a bit of weight! My role as chairman is purely ceremonial and non political, in fact during my year of office, I am off all council committees. I guess I am a bit like the Queen.

The leader, however, is the political head of the council, a bit like the Prime Minister. Adur’s leader is Neil Parkin and he has been leader of the council longer than any other leader in the south of England. The leader chooses his own cabinet and all the council business is directed by him.

On Saturday, together with the mayor of Worthing, my wife and I attended an all-day jazz and swing event put on by the Jive Aces at the Assembly Hall in Worthing. There were 500 people dancing the night away as we were entertained by several swing bands, including the fabulously-talented Jive Aces.

The mayor and I opened the event early in the afternoon and then later that evening, we were on stage again, to introduce the Jive Aces. This had to be one of the most magical musical events I have been to. I was also very impressed with the audience, who really took to the occasion by wearing outfits from the swing era and certainly knew their ‘steps’.

There are a number of ‘dance’ classes around our district, including the Shoreham Centre. So, if you do not want to be ‘shown up’, go along and see what happens.

I have always been impressed with the educational facilities in and around our district. Our academies are performing well, our primary schools are thriving and Northbrook College continues to expand. I have attended a number of events at several of Northbrook’s campuses and have always been so impressed with the facilities on offer, together with the obvious dedication shown by the teaching staff.

This week I attended Northbrook’s 21 Days of Enterprise and Employability. Northbrook College, Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce and the Worthing and Adur Business Partnership have funded this. The three-week event is designed to get the whole community involved and hopefully give employment and apprenticeships to students.

Just to remind you, there is a consultation running regarding homes and jobs around the Shoreham Harbour area. This consultation continues until April 25, with documentation available for viewing at Adur Civic Centre in Shoreham, the Fishersgate Centre, Ropetackle Arts Centre, Southwick Community Centre and at the award-winning Shoreham Farmers’ Market, which is held the second Saturday of every month in East Street, Shoreham. The plan proposes the building of almost 2,000 homes, new employment space and upgraded sea defence.