Wednesday, 10 September 2014
The summer holidays over, Carmarthenshire County Council will today hold its first full meeting since early July. Very unusually the agenda has been amended twice, and for the first time ever it features questions to members of the Executive Board.
It's worth pausing for a moment to think about that. Questions...in a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council! Good grief.
Does this mark the end of attempts by the Chief Executive and other members of the top brass to turn the monthly meetings into management seminars with Death by Powerpoint, even removing the right of councillors to ask questions about the minutes of the various committee meetings?
In the meantime, five questions have been submitted, and they all come from opposition Plaid Cymru councillors.
No surprise there because apart from the 10 councillors on the governing Executive Board, very, very few Labour or Independent councillors rarely ever have anything to say, let alone questions to ask. Two Independent councillors have never spoken since being elected (Anthony 'Whitey' Davies and Theressa Bowen), and Labour's Keri Thomas has attended only one meeting of the full council in the last 12 months. He didn't speak then, either.
At the Extraordinary meeting earlier this year at the height of the libel and pensions scandals panic broke out among the journalists, bloggers and political junkies in the public gallery because nobody recognised some of the speakers. "Who on earth is that?" went up the cry. In once case the answer was Philip Hughes, Independent councillor for St Clears, formerly a member of the Executive Board. Such is the mark he has made as an elected councillor.
It is worth remembering that the council's constitution describes meetings of the full council as
"a forum for the debate of matters of concern to the local community and the place at which councillors are able to hold the executive board and committee chairs to account."
With only one or two exceptions (Bill Thomas, Lab. for example), if you have a Labour or Independent councillor there are no matters of concern, and as for holding anyone to account, forget it.
Tune in today at 10 o'clock to find out if any of them break their vows of silence.
Posted by Cneifiwr at 07:51