Thursday, 5 February 2015

Blowing in the wind

Councillors, council staff and the poor old voters have been left blinking by Kevin Madge's latest political somersault.

Last month he used the South Wales Guardian to launch a PR blitz in response to growing public anger at the idea that the council's chief executive, Mark James, might get a huge pay-off to leave his job.

He had listened to council staff and public opinion, he said, and found that "the sense of feeling is ....very strong". The Labour group had therefore decided to support what he called the status quo option, which the Guardian was told would mean forcing James to remain in post or resign.

As public votes of confidence in a top public official go, that was hardly a resounding endorsement.

Roll forward a few weeks, and here is Kev in jubilant mood explaining that he is "delighted that Mark James has agreed to withdraw his application for severance this year and to remain in post as our Chief Executive for now to help the Council weather the financial and possible re-organisation storms".

Note the words "for now".

So Kevin Madge has gone for Plan B, which is to wait until all those difficult elections are out of the way before signing off on a massive redundancy package for the unpopular chief executive.

The new honeymoon is set to last roughly two years. 

Meanwhile, last month's rotting albatross is this month's must-have fashion accessory.

Delighted


23 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Leighton Andrews has his way, the honeymoon may already be over in two years time. At the launch of the white paper, he said he wants “fundamental reform”, not “bigger councils going about their business in the same way”.
Interested parties can have their input at http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/localgovernment/power-to-local-people/?skip=1&lang=en

Vaughan Williams said...

Perhaps I'm being suspicious... is there an election around the corner? Just a guess...

Anonymous said...

Thought it worth repeating my comment to Caebrwyn's blog on this matter

"I'm glad to hear that the leader of the Council acknowledges the fact that we need a respected CEO at the helm at this time. “If ever there was a time when we need a first class, highly
experienced and respected Chief Executive at the helm it is now.” So where is this paragon of virtue? Is there going to be two CEO's as for some unknown reason Mark James appears to be remaining in post? ONLY joking as I know the EXECUTIVE want no change from the way they continue to protect him from all comers. Yes the toxic culture continues, as you say, for now.

I skimmed through the rest of the blog and fail to understand the apparent enthusiasm of Cllr Madge & Cllr Palmer when mentioning Mark James. Have they forgotten all the Ombudsmen reports mentioning maladministration by his officers under his watch, WAO public interest report fiasco and the WLGA peer report. Who respects him? The way he ignores concerns made by members of the public and whistleblowers about the wrongful acts of his officers is not, in my eyes, the actions of a first class, highly experienced and respected CEO. WHY is he at the helm anyway? HE is an employee of the COUNCIL and has a duty to follow the POLICIES and PROCEDURES of that COUNCIL in the public interest. The EXECUTIVE (our representatives are the people who should be at the helm) making sure each and every officer is acting according to his/her duties. Ignoring his duty is not in the public interest and should not be tolerated by our representatives."

No doubt Mark James is a lovely, charming man adored by all who meet him and unless you have a beef about the actions of the council and it's officers you would never actually come across his "DARK SIDE". The side whistleblowers and complainants are made aware of due to his lack of commitment to hold anyone accountable for the maladministration in the Council.

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Anonymous said...

Whatever anybody thinks about Kevin Madge it is disingenuous to suggest categorically, that when the elections are out of the way he will sign off a huge redundancy package. Added to this he has just suffered the bereavement of his Mother so a bit of discretion might have gone a long way on this occasion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you've said cneifiwr, apart from the accusation that Madge is leaving this until after the election. There's an election every 4 years out of 5 in Wales and Labour would know that better than most. There's no evidence to say that any of the Councillors support a package at any time, before or after the election. in fact the suggestion is more than speculative, it's just plain wrong. However, it does suit the Plaid election narrative: make it up and hope it sticks.

Redhead said...

And wIting to collect his hefty fee - probably more than the £20,000 he collected IN ADVANCE last time - which should pay for the new gold-plated blinds in his - probably in the enlarged and refurbished office. You know - the one with The Throne.

Anonymous said...

Kevs campaign song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhLlXvkm65Y

Anonymous said...

Don't believe them! They are up to something!

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@9.45 Of course it is sad to hear that Kevin Madge has lost his mother, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with his management of the council.

I believe that he is fundamentally a decent man, but he is also a very experienced and wily politician who can turn on synthetic displays of anger etc. at the drop of a hat.

Labour are desperate not to let anything spoil their campaign, and postponing a decision about Mark James's future until after the election suits him very well.

And if anyone believes the guff put out in that press release yesterday, they shouldn't be allowed to cross the road on their own.

Anonymous said...

Labour can't win here. If they make the right decision it's classed as electioneering. Mr James has clearly recognised that he's not going to get the support of any party for a golden handshake. He could apply again next year like all employees are entitled to do, but there would be Assembly elections, or the year after and there would be local government elections. A reminder that the severance scheme runs at the same time every year for all employees. the 'for the time being' comment is his little swipe at the politicians who haven't done the bidding he expected.

Anonymous said...

Re. the Kev&Pam statement “If ever there was a time when we need a first class, highly experienced and respected chief executive at the helm, it is now.”
So who have they got in mind as many wouldn’t consider the current Admiral of the Fleet to fit the bill - maybe the captain of the Costa Concordia? He comes with the relevant experience of steering his ship onto the rocks, but also made sure he was first into the lifeboats.

Anonymous said...

Love that anonymous 13;14

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a case for the current post of Chief Executive being made redundant? The cuts that have been made to the Council's services and those yet to come must mean that the Chief Executive's role must have similarly diminished. Coupled with exhortations from review bodies for a less interventionist stance from the CEx, and a need to save the public purse, a purge could be easily justified. If in doubt, management consultants will, for a price, tell you so.
Statutory redundancy pay is capped at £13,920. Savings all round.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@12.38 - you may well be right that Labour can't win. That prompts the question of how they got themselves in this mess in the first place.

Answers on a postcard.

Redhead said...

Sorry, but I don't believe Mr Madge is a decent man. A decent man would not have allowed this situation to get so bad - or even if he had, he would have resigned.

He likes the trappings of office and the fat cat salary and perks but his strings are pulled by Mr James.

No decent man would be able to live with what is going on.

Anonymous said...

Agree totally with Redhead.None of the sycophants protecting Mark James are decent people.There must be a few in the ruling administration who could begin rallying on the side of truth and integrity.

Anonymous said...

Hark at Mr. A̶n̶g̶l̶e̶s̶e̶y̶A̶b̶e̶r̶y̶s̶t̶w̶y̶t̶hLlanelli. If there wasn't an election on the way he wouldn't be within 50 miles of the town. Typical career politician/journeyman who is trying to ingratiate himself here. It is very noticeable that he gets very little support from the 28 Councillors on CarmarthenshireCC and even worse they probably didn't even support his selection.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon17.25 - he lives and works in Llanelli, and it was work that brought him here.

Vaughan has got to be one of the hardest working candidates in Wales.

If Labour is attacking him for not coming from Llanelli, perhaps they ought to ask themselves about Stephen Kinnock (private;y educated in England, resident in Denmark) in Aberavon.

Vaughan Williams said...

Thanks Cneifiwr. I pretty much know who the comment off 17.25 was off, have seen it plenty of times. (get's a little boring, but never mind).

To be fair, I admire the fact that Nia Griffit MP was born in Dublin and raised in Carmarthen has never got in her way. Surely it's not where we're from that matters but rather where we're going to. I suspect this Labour activist who is known to many has been taking lessons off UKIP regarding attacking outsiders.

This represents the politics of division. It's time to kick this politics into touch and build a new politics of concensus founded on hope and belief rather than dejection and negativity.

YMLAEN!

Anonymous said...

No good just knocking UKIP,why did so many vote for
then in Wales.Plaid could do with those votes.Wedyn YMLAEN a Ni.

Cneifiwr said...

To the person who keeps banging on about how Vaughan Williams does not come from Llanelli - stop wasting your time.

Your are off topic, but you will get a chance shortly when this blog takes a look at his campaign.

Anonymous said...

Well how very impartial of you.:)

Anonymous said...

It's a hell of a job getting rid of dry rot.