Monday 2 July 2012

Can we have a refund, Kev?

Caebrwyn reports that the July meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council has been cancelled because of a lack of business to transact, and she points out that there will probably not be another meeting until September.

This means that in the 6 months from March councillors will have met just twice - once for the rubber-stamping formality of the AGM, and a second time for an ordinary meeting in June.

Given the lack of activity, it is likely that none of the scrutiny committees will meet until the autumn, and very little is happening at the executive end of the council either.

The Tivyside Advertiser recently reported (here) that councillors' allowances and special responsibility allowances in Ceredigion would cost taxpayers more than £540,000 in the current financial year. Caebrwyn points out below that the equivalent figure for Carmarthenshire in 2011 was just under £1.4 million, and now that Kevin Madge has increased the size of the Executive Board because of erm...pressure of work, the figure for this year will be higher.

Will the Executive Board and chairs of the various comatose committees show the way by handing back half of their special responsibility allowances in recognition of the fact that they have taken 6 months off?

The savings could be used to reverse some of the planned cuts. For example, the council is cutting £50,000 off its support for the Mentrau Iaith (half its total grant) over the next three years, and that will mean that jobs and livelihoods will be lost. And that's just for starters.


caebrwyn said...

Quite, and with mainly only Executive Board and Planning meetings until September, let's hope that when these are eventually reported to full council, no one has forgotten what was decided.

Also, for information, the total cost of our Carmarthenshire councillors, for 2011,eximsb was £1,357,120.

caebrwyn said...

not sure where the 'eximsb' came from, cat on the keyboard perhaps!

Tessa said...

@caebrwyn - well there will be the minutes to refer to regarding the decisions made - erm, well to refer to the decisions that were wanted by the minute takers/controllers to have been made ;-)

caebrwyn said...

yes there will, but we rely on the councillors reading through it all and asking pertinent questions. Impertinent questions will not be allowed of course.

caebrwyn said...

The cost for this May alone is £24,188 which includes £3500 for fuel and £138 for dinners...

Anonymous said...

Boggling and nothing in any papers or on television about how Plaid get there Councilliors votes in elections.

Anonymous said...

Committees have been meeting, having portfolio introduction sessions and overview presentations.
The fuel bill will be higher in May because of the amount of training sessions run for councillors in the month after the election.
All parties need to take responsibility for the lack of monthly meeting, as it was the Plaid Chair who cancelled it and could have insisted on the meeting going ahead.

Cneifiwr said...

I'm sorry, but I find that last comment incredible. Neither the chair nor Plaid are responsible for the lack of business - it is the ruling Labour-Independent coalition which is running the council. The lack of vision and energy here is truly astounding.

Why on earth should a chair of a committee be paid nearly £22,000 a year when there are no meetings to chair?

caebrwyn said...

@Cneifiwr I agree with you, there's no excuse. I doubt if the Chair would be involved in such a decision anyway. Not in Carms.
To me it shows apathy and lack of direction. The July meeting after the 2008 election went ahead and even featured a Petition and a Notice on Motion. The ruling coalition have spent too much time squabbling over the sweeties and have already forgotten the people who voted them in...then again perhaps that's all part of the 'overview' and 'portfolio' training.

County Hall Spy said...

Carmarthenshire's problem is two-fold; a terrible administration (Labour & Independent) and an impotent opposition (Plaid Cymru). The latter just want to "play the game" and tick along. For those of us who remember Labour in opposition (1999-2004) that was a masterclass in opposition. Notices of motions designed to expose the differences between the then ruling parties (Ind & Plaid) and even within groups and geography (urban/rural). Perhaps it was a bit political and "punch and judy" but it kept the administration on it's toes!

But then Peter Hughes-Griffiths is no Martin Morris. Which is a shame because Madge is no Meryl and a modicum of intelligent and forceful opposition would rip this pathetic administration a new a**ehole if Plaid got it's act together. At the moment Caiach is the Leader of the Opposition in Carmarthenshire. Also interesting to note that Giles Morgan (Ind, Swiss Valley) has been promoted to the front bench of his group and seems to be the brains and voice of the administration (seems to have taken the place of Stepen James) as someone who can think on his feet and attack without the need of a pre-written script.

Anonymous said...

No need for any get togethers.

Plaids swindle tactics during the election will only undermine anything that is said by a plaid Cllr.
If what i hear is true it might be a little more than swindle. I gather a person who's wife was a Star in Pobol y Cwm stood as an Inipendent Candidate only to piggy back a Plaid candidate into Council.

Cneifiwr said...

Swindle? How do you think that Plaid swindled the electorate?

Of the three major groups on the council, Plaid stood on a clear and detailed manifesto.

Labour's manifesto consisted of a lot of bullet points with very little substance (improving road signage was one of the few actual promises), and Kevin Madge argued that the election was not about local issues at all, but sending a "message to Westminster".

The Independents as usual stood on no manifesto at all.

The message to Westminster, judging from the outcome, is that Labour in Carmarthenshire is in favour of Cameron's Big Society.

Who was swindling voters?

Anonymous said...

Swindle ?
Who was Swindling Voters ?

Plaid did by placing the husband of a Pobol y Cwm star that works as a Commercial director with a local rugby team and had 24 caps for Wales.
Would the board of directors have let him do it as an Indipendent if he came in no way.
So he could only have been used as a spring board for Plaid.

Cneifiwr said...

Sorry Anon, but I think your theory is a bit like the German bomber on the moon (forgive the pun of sorts). That particular campaign was fought tooth and nail. Plaid had a very strong candidate, but I would not have wanted to bet the farm that he would beat Mr M.

County Hall Spy said...

I presume you are both talking about Gorslas. The only "swindle" was that Mr. Moon was hand-picked and supported by the Official Independent Party to stand in Gorslas to STOP a very bright young Plaid candidate (former Swansea Councillor Darren Price). At least the political parties stand under their banner openly and honest. I detest these "independents" who organise, act and vote like a political party but whom profess to be "independent of party politics". Now THAT'S a swindle.