The Executive Board of Carmarthenshire County Council will hold its first meeting of 2014 on 6 January, and prominent among the items to be rubber-stamped on the agenda is an update on the libel case between the chief executive, Mark James, and Jacqui Thompson. Mr James is, of course, responsible for putting together the agenda.
The normal staple of Executive Board meeting agendas is reports to be noted and recommendations to be given the seal of approval. No action is required in the case of the update, but the board members and assembled officers will be treated to a recital of the crimes and misdemeanours of Mrs T, arch-villain and demon blogger, in celebration of the Appeal Court's rejection of her attempt to broaden the scope of her appeal against the verdict.
Harassment, intimidation, perversion of the course of justice, defamation and dishonesty. Mrs T is guilty of the lot, the report thunders. What a pity that transportation to the colonies, burning at the stake and public hanging are no longer options for this persistent critic of the chief executive.
Perhaps publication of this report shows that the council is turning over a new leaf and dispensing with its secretive old ways of doing business.
When the chief executive was awarded the indemnity which funded his counter-claim, the report was exempted from publication and approved in private. The minutes of the meeting back in January 2012 did not even say who was being awarded an indemnity.
As even the most dim-witted members of the Executive Board will be aware, the Wales Audit Office decided that the indemnity was unlawful, and it is likely that they will be presented with a report detailing their shortcomings a week or so after the 6 January meeting.
Perhaps they would be wise to keep the champagne on ice.
In the meantime and in the spirit of the council's new-found commitment to transparency and open government, perhaps the Executive Board would like to tell us whether the indemnity awarded in January 2012 was an open-ended blank cheque, and what the true extent of costs to the council has been so far. The presence last month of a four-man legal team representing Mr James at the Appeal Court hearing (it is apparently unusual for non-appellants to show up at all) shows that no expense is being spared in the battle against the Beast of Llanwrda.