Our mayor has been very helpful over the years and he is not putting himself up for re-election. Also the staff in the office are leaving. Is there any protocol about what, if anything, to offer to them as a farewell gift? Also, what about the incoming mayor and his team? Again is there any protocol about offering a welcome gift? At the very least, we will be going into the office to say hello - shame we won’t be able to vote By the way, there’s only one list, so it’s always a forgone conclusion. Thanks for any thoughts/suggestions
I guess answers will vary depending on whether you are giving the gift on a personal level or on behalf of a club or association or an official government body.
It’s just us - retired couple who’ve lived here 12 years.
Mmmm… if you’ve had dealings with the mayor over the 12 years… you might like to give him a card saying “thank you for all your help” … but I don’t think we have ever given our outgoing mayors anything… and they’ve always been well loved…
on the other hand… the incoming mayor will probably/possibly hold some sort of public gathering to say hello to the rest of you and present his team and explain the responsibilities they will each undertake. Again… it is not always so…
Might it not be interpreted as an attempt to corrupt a public official? Even if the official refused the gift, the relationship would have been compromised. I’ve seldom read such a naive suggestion, thought it pains me to say so .
As I’ve written before, our Maire studiously avoided ‘courtesy visits’ from new residents in the commune, although he was always willing to make himself available to anyone who had a concern or needed specific advice. He was not aloof, but neither was he up for cosy ‘getting to know you’ chats. For over 30 years in post, he was widely respected, liked, and 100% commited to his commune and his town.
That’s very cynical, Peter! I don’t imagine Sue was going to give anything of immense value…
I think a card or the outgoing mayor would be a nice gesture. Mayors get a fair bit of flak so I’m sure it would be appreciated. Maybe a selection of little cakes for the office team if there aren’t too many of them? If you have a local patisserie so much the better, supporting local businesses is what mairie staff love to see.
Anna, are we talking about the same thing?
A farewell gift is fine, but a welcome gift for a new incumbent? Surely not!
I was asking Peter precisely because I didn’t know what is the “done thing” - we’re talking about a small commune of a few hundred. No way would we not introduce ourselves to the new guy! OK, no present, but it would be seen as VERY stand-offish not to at least go in and welcome him. We have one small epicerie with stuff that molders there for months, but I’ll see if I can find some half-reasonable chocolates. And a card for the outgoing team. Not least, some sort of recompense for all the times I’ve gone in over the years with “are you still alive?” pension forms to be signed!Thanks for the advice
Yes but … a card and a cake from “un couple de retraités sympa”- bribery? Really??
If there were a public meeting to which local commune inhabitants were invited, then it would be good to go along, if you were able.
But it is certainly my advice that taking a gift to present would be ill-advised. The small expense of a few chocolates might not be a concern for you, but some of your neighbours might not be able to afford a gift, and resent your ostentation. It might also embarrass the Maire for reasons I have suggested, and s/he might not want her/his office to be compromised by an unsolicited gift from a stranger.
But it’s up to you and to your sense of propriety, Sue.
That’s not a word I used, or would use.
Soliciting favour by offering uninvited benefits is different, and carries the same opprobrium, but less heinous. The Maire is an elected public official with prescribed powers and authority, not a new neighbour to whom a welcoming cake or pie would be a welcoming gesture of friendship.
But Sue will do as she sees fit, and I have posted in what I think is in her interests, not mine, and will say no more.
I think we have an ideal opportunity to go in and introduce ourselves and apologise for not being able to vote. My recollection of the previous local election was that we went in to vote late afternoon and the mayor and his list were already there with their bottles of champagne! As mentioned above, there is only ever one list. So the current mayor saw that we had come in to vote. The new guy won’t see us. And when they have the get-togethers it’s a real scrum because everyone from the commune goes. Not the moment for him to get to know us! Over the years it’s always when we’ve gone into the mayor’s office and chatted about something specific - just us, very often because it’s rarely busy - that the barriers have come down and these days it’s always bisous when I go in.
Well I s’pose it depends on the mayor. It’s how an action or gesture is perceived that matters, not how it’s intended. As they hammer into you on child protection courses.
Our mayor would certainly not take it amiss, he’s a wise and fatherly chap, he knows his concitoyens and he has a knack of adapting his behaviour to the suit the situation.
Just because you can’t vote that doesn’t mean you are not relevant to the new Maire, and there will be opportunities to chat with him/her no doubt. But whatever you do, don’t apologise for not being able to vote - it’s not your fault!!
Our outgoing mayor is also moving away, so we will probably invite him for an apero before he leaves. But as a friend rather than ex-mayor.
I find the idea of going in just to say hello to the new one a bit odd. However we are a small commune, so already know the new one quite well so that colours my view as i know he would find it odd. I guess it could depend on who the new one is.
Not on Sue’s case, or yours, Anna.
I talk to people in this town and commune of over 3,000 too (not all of them, I confess), but even though the Maire keeps what I think is an appropriate distance from his Communards, there is a vast amount of bad-mouthing about people in the Hotel de Ville who seek preference, or solicit it, or appear to get it.
I think better to sup with a long spoon. I think our Maire knows who is who, and knows how to find out if he doesn’t. He has always treated me with courtesy and kindness, and my wife, but no bisous are given or received, and none needed. That’s how it is in all towns, it seems, including in UK. People jostle for perceived position and privilege.
I prefer it that way. We are not personal friends, nor do we aspire to it.
Wow… what a shame, Peter. Our mayor makes a point of greeting newcomers and making them feel welcome… as did his predecessors.
But then… ours is a very friendly commune…
I am encouraged to trundle any new Brits into the Mairie…any newcomers in fact…
So is ours, Stella. But human nature is human nature everywhere, and still waters run deep, with powerful undercurrents. Just like SF. It’s a friendly place, but let’s get real…
Our mayor on the other hand doesn’t keep much distance. The previous one was apparently widely criticised for being too remote. This one is very much “one of us”.
He runs the local brico shop and I think I shared on another thread how he came in person to deliver and install my new fridge shortly after I arrived, and I had no idea he was the mayor and I told him off roundly because he didn’t have the right sized screwdriver and he asked if I had one…
Then he has a very strong motive to be nice to his Communards! Good for business. Not a bright idea to piss off local custom.
Several members of our Maire’s family are well established local commercants. And he was himself a prominent local agriculturist.
But he doesn’t seem to be “Hail fellow, well met” by disposition, and neither am I, which is perhaps why I like him.
He lives 200 metres down the road from me, in a very modest pavillon next to a deserted factory site, and about the same distance from the Hotel de Ville.
Can’t help feeling it’s very different in towns of 3000. I collared our mayor in Lidls some months back - I did apologise, but there was on-going “stuff” and he wasn’t at all put out. Far from it. I can imagine the last thing on earth a mayor of a town wants is to be collared in Lidls - so of course they are likely to keep some distance. Our mairie isn’t even open most days (hence the collaring!) just Monday and Friday evening and Wednesday morning. And the office is manned by one secretary to the commune and an assistant. So of course he comes out of his inner sanctum and we exchange bisous and chat.