Current Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello with husband Joe Costello TD in the Mansion House

DUBLIN'S first directly-elected mayor may secure the most powerful job in all the land, but they can keep their hands off the Mansion House, the '001' car, the butler and the chauffeur.

Those age-old perks will remain firmly in the grasp of the more decorative Lord Mayor's office, which will continue to exist even when the elected mayor takes office.

The newly elected king or queen of the capital may boast a salary of around €225,000 but they won't land a plush residence to complement it.

Speaking ahead of the confirmation of a new Lord Mayor tomorrow night, sources have said it is increasingly unlikely an election for the executive position – based broadly on the London equivalent – will happen by the autumn timeframe cited by environment minister John Gormley.

With three by-elections looming and anticipated delays in the legislation, the initial plans for a 2010 election are now being broadly dismissed in Dublin's political circles. Spring or summer is the more likely timeframe.

"I think Fianna Fáil will obviously be advising caution and Gormley will be pushing on ahead," a well-placed source told the Sunday Tribune. "There are three by-elections which they wouldn't want to run this year. It's also caught up with Gormley and I don't think he will have the legislation put in in time for an election this year."

While there has always been confusion about the new post, details of its powers are slowly coming to light.

Gormley is understood to be meeting with the Dublin Regional Authority in the coming weeks, while he has already ironed out details on the new position with members of the opposition. One thing is certain: it will be a no-frills office.

"We don't want to create another layer of bureaucracy and one of the ways we can do that would be to create another larger department," a government source said.

The new role will carry significant powers, the details of which will be finalised when the Dublin mayor bill is published in the coming weeks.

It will outline a broad role on policy around the city, overseeing the initiatives and responsibilities of the four Dublin authorities.

While the executive mayor will liaise with the four managers on strategic matters, his or her decision will be final and the councils can be directed as to what to do.

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