Thanks to Paul Leake posting on the Town Liar, who has drawn attention to an extraordinary Guardian interview with Ray Mallon, elected mayor for Middlesbrough, in which he points out that the elected mayor model is ripe for abuse by any power-hungry individual who may be elected to office.
He says, "But I am not going to abuse my power. I am not going to abuse my authority or do anything I should not. If you get a mayor who was power-mad, he could bring a town down or a city, so you can see I am not completely sold on the elected mayor idea. It works here because I like to think I am sane - though people who usually say that aren't. It works fine here but it is unique."
Mallon knows first-hand about the checks and balances (or absence of them) regarding elected mayors. It would be folly for Darlington to take a leap in the dark and concentrate power in the hands of one individual.