Tuesday, 30 September 2014

End of an era

As most readers will be aware, Carmarthenshire County Council has announced that its chief executive, Mark James, has applied to leave the council under its severance scheme.

Mr James's departure has been rumoured for some considerable time, with persistent whispers that he is planning to move to the more genteel environs of Bath. There was also a school of thought that having reached 55 he would seek early retirement, possibly on the grounds of ill health.

No details other than an application for severance have so far been made public, but any payout under the scheme will undoubtedly be of eye watering proportions.

As it seems that we are talking about voluntary redundancy, the implication would be that there would be no successor as chief executive.

If the application is accepted, Mr James would leave towards the end of the year. Whoever takes over in whatever guise will face a very unenviable task as they tackle massive spending cuts and the fallout from Mr James's near 15-year reign.

Reorganisation?

The chief executive's decision to leave comes at a very interesting juncture. We should shortly see the report and recommendations produced by the WLGA Governance Panel, and the expectation is that it will deliver a damning verdict of the regime run by Mr James.

Beyond that, and nothing to do with his decision in all likelihood, is the pending reorganisation of Welsh local government. Pembrokeshire has just announced that it will begin exploratory talks with Ceredigion. Neither county wants to merge with the other, and it is hard to see what Ceredigion would gain from joining up with the toxic basket case to its south.

Under the Welsh Government's proposals, Carmarthenshire was to have remained as a standalone county, but the departure of Mark James and almost his entire team of senior officers removes one major obstacle to a merger with another county or counties.

Perhaps Dyfed could rise like a phoenix from the ashes after all.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

A case of rats and sinking ships?

Cneifiwr said...

The captain appears to have decided to leap with the rodents.

Anonymous said...

F@*^ing B*****d

Anonymous said...

Halleluja !!!
Unfortunately it has arrived too late for Jaqui.I am however quite concerned
about Meryl Kevin and co.Who on earth are they going to get to guide and protect them from the general rabble who ask the right questions hoping to get a straightforward and sensible answer. Just can't wait now.!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeh 15 year reign of terror!

Jack Old Oak said...

Best news for fifteen years! When our idiot ruling councillors appointed him, they tried to justify his outrageous salary level by saying that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.They certainly DIDN'T pay peanuts - quite the reverse - but the other hasn't necessarily followed......
Goodbye, Hitler!!!

Anonymous said...

Good riddance - sorry for whoever falls under his next reign of dictatorship and hubris.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to an awful era! The only way is up from here.

Anonymous said...

As a resident of Ceredigion the resurection of Dyfed is not a prospect I welcome except of course our CEO is the only untainted one of the three.

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

I've just picked up on this news. Funny, though: I would have expected a full peal from the belfry at St Peter's Church when the Loyal Organ of the People made the announcement.

If James is taking a voluntary severance package, that must mean the Chief Exec position itself is redundant, doesn't it? So they'll have to parcel the Clerk to the Council rĂ´le up with another officer's job description.

Redhead said...

If the tole is recundant it cannot be filled for at least 2 years surely?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile frontline staff with years of service in difficult public facing jobs will be turned down for severance.
One rule , and it aint for most of us.
I cant even bear to look at the man!

Cneifiwr said...

Redhead - I am sure you are right. There would be no new chief exec if they go down that route.

Anonymous said...

They will delete other posts in the structure to fund the weasel's severance and to ensure that they can still recruit to the CE post. Where there's a will ......

Anonymous said...

"...persistent whispers that he is planning to move to the more genteel environs of Bath."
- Can you elaborate Cneifiwr? Has he another job lined up?

Anonymous said...

Some basic questions the answers to which would be very interesting and revealing. What is the business/ financial case for re-running the severance scheme on terms way over that required by law and only acts as a disincentive to any staff that would wish to retire/leave in any event. Who recommended to exec board that the scheme should be re-run this year and what are the projected costs to the Council ?
Why were the media unit told to make one request
public , what about the other 359 ?
Given that it is a safe assumption that the deal has already been done and that there will be a chief executive post to advertise in the near future ( with probably an interim in the meantime) how many current director , assistant chief executive and heads of service posts are planned to disappear to make the case to pay for it?

Anonymous said...

Don't celebrate just yet as a rat has returned to CCC from Pembrokeshire! Golden handshake to go and a higher salary for his return and who knows maybe a golden hello again ... next years accounts might reveal the latter.

Jack Old Oak said...

Now that CCC is losing its (discredited) Chief Executive and the future of Pembs. Chief Exec. is in dout, bearing in mind that Cardiganshire County Council, most sensibly, wants nothing to do with Pembs. - surely the time has come to investigate and consider combining two "basket cases" (Pembs. and Carms.) into one basket, putting all senoir staff under (^?) months notice, advertising for new staff in a greatly slimmed down regime/structure and at realistic salarylevels (not the hugely inflated salaries the present regimes) and to try to re-start with a new "Carms./Pembs" combined single authority with a clean sheet" - and uncontaminated by the past?

Redhead said...

Perhaps one thing the newly-constituted council could do would be to make an ex-gratia award to Jacquie Thomas equal to the charge that Mr James has put on her home.

That would win them many friends. And after all Meryl seems to be able to give her grants to anyone she pleases so it can't be that hard.

Anonymous said...

In total agreement with and a big round of applause for Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas’s view it would be wrong for Mark James to receive such a payout.

“The Labour Party’s approval of a tax avoidance scheme for the chief executive, and the use of public money to fund his legal case against a county resident – both of which turned out to be ‘unlawful’ - has left public trust in the county council at an all-time low.
“The chief executive leaving the council will not restore the trust of local residents as it is the political leadership which must be held accountable for these actions.
“If Mr James wants to leave then that is a matter for him, but I believe no more public money should be paid out for his departure….”
(from WalesOnline 30th Sept - http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/carmarthenshire-councils-chief-executive-announces-7858532)

Sian Caiach said...

A couple of years ago I did mention in full council the fact that as the CEO position is not statutory and other councils have abolished this job and employed a general manager or managing director at a lower grade, with considerable savings. I believe Mr James agreed at the time that this was possible.
I think the severance package, if it is the way to go forward, needs to be closely scrutinised. Personally, I believe the unlawful payments should certainly be taken into consideration.

Anonymous said...

It appears that Mr James' house - rather posh - has been for sale for quite some time

Redhead said...

Maybe CCC could put a charge on it!

Anonymous said...

King James the Mark should take Linda Rees Jones with him. After all, she has never been properly appointed and has never proved to be of any real value to anyone except "Kink James" and his cropiens (appointed and elected)!

ITK said...

i hear gloucestershire calling.. in a faint whispery voice, mark, mark...