Nominations announced for the next Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Merton

At the annual council meeting on May 22, councilors will decide who to appoint as the new mayor of Merton, who will be the ceremonial and civic head of the council for the coming year.

Council leader Councilor Ross Garrod has announced that the Labor Group will nominate Councilor Slawek Szczepanski as the next Mayor of Merton. If elected, he would become the first-ever Polish mayor of Merton.

Born in Poznan, Poland, Councilor Szczepanski spent 20 years living and working in communities in Merton, serving as a director of the Merton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, before being elected in 2022 to represent Lavender Fields Ward.

Councilor Szczepanski leads the Polish Family Association, a community initiative that helps Merton residents access health and mental health services, and connect with community support services, schools and businesses.

Councilor Szczepanski’s work in leading the Polish Family Association has been crucial in helping Ukrainian refugees settle and integrate in Merton, setting up the Ukrainian Hub with the Commonside Trust and Merton Council. The Ukrainian Hub has provided more than 1,000 in-person appointments and 3,000 telephone consultations for Ukrainian refugees, helped more than 250 Ukrainian children enroll in school, and 170 adults participated in job-ready skills programs.

The Labor Group has also confirmed that Councilor Brenda Fraser will be nominated as Deputy Mayor, following her successful time as Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.

During her time in Cabinet, Councilor Fraser drove the delivery of our new Family Hubs, delivered high quality accommodation for care leavers and delivered excellent children’s social care for all young people in the borough.

Council leader Councilor Ross Garrod said of the nomination:

“I am proud to nominate Councilor Szczepanski as the very first Polish Mayor of Merton. Councilor Szczepanski’s journey from furniture maker to councillor, and now to potentially Mayor of Merton, is one that I know will inspire so many across the borough, especially our esteemed Polish community.

“The partnership of Councilor Szczepanski as Mayor and Councilor Fraser as Deputy Mayor embodies the very best of this municipality. Together they will make a fantastic team that will excel in their ceremonial and civic duties.”

The Mayoral Ceremony will take place on Wednesday evening, May 22 at the Merton Civic Center and will also be live streamed – more details here.