Brain Food: How Does he Manage? - Mayor Frank Branston, Mayor of Bedford

When did you become a manager?

When I founded my local newspaper business in 1977. I was elected mayor in October 2002.

What does management mean to you?

I manage the day-to-day business of the council. When there are potholes or rowdy youths, everybody wants the mayor to solve it. In essence, I'm responsible for almost everything. I don't have planning power, but I have powers over the policy of the council and authority over our £73 million budget. I have to manage an executive of nine members, who all have their own portfolio. Their job is to manage the policies of the council and what I say I want. I'll listen to the arguments, come up with any thoughts and tell them where I want to go. I'm an ideas man, and after discussion, it's their job to implement them. What's irritating about local government is that it takes a long time to get things done. Every mayor has a different way of looking at things. I don't get involved in party politics. I trust shifting alliances and the spirit of the moment to get things through.

What do you love/hate about it?

I enjoy moving things forward, getting things done. I hate petty politics - they are actually worse than I thought they would be. And I'd been covering local politics for many years.

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