Friday 21 September 2012

Unbusy bees

As this blog has reported ad nauseam, Carmarthenshire County Council has not exactly seen much activity this year. The wind-down ahead of the elections began in March, and there was precious little activity all through the wet and rainy summer months.

The first meeting of the full council took place on 12 September after a break of three months, although that clearly was not long enough for several councillors, including one Independent who had booked himself onto a cruise rather than make the arduous trip over to County Hall.

For anyone who thought that the autumn would see our local authority spring back to life as the Labour-Independent regime rolled up its sleeves and set about implementing the council's slogan ("Improving the way we live", in case you had forgotten), the results have been distinctly underwhelming.

According to the Council's diary, 20 meetings of the various committees and bodies which make up the democratically elected arm of the council were due to be held in September. Seven of those were cancelled, and we still have more than a week to go.

There are ten members of the governing Executive Board, including leader Kevin Madge. Readers will recall that Kev got himself into some rather hot water this week in the Sainsbury's planning row. He was too busy to spare 20 minutes to take part in a debate on Radio Cymru's Taro'r Post programme, but did find rather more time to be filmed giving his thoughts to viewers of BBC Wales' main news programme the day before.

Unless you are one of the handful of people who go to Carmarthen to observe council meetings or live in Garnant, the chances are that you will not have seen Kev in action before. Feedback from viewers who saw the performance suggests that the council would be unwise to begin filming council meetings any time soon.

Of the other nine members of the Executive Board, now on salaries ranging from £28,780 to £31,120, Pam Palmer (deputy leader on £31,120) has managed to hold zero decision meetings since May. Her brief includes rural communities and business management.

Tegwen Devichand, the other deputy leader (also on £31,120), did manage to hold a decision meeting in July. Her portfolio covers housing. Observers of this month's full council meeting where an Ombudsman's report criticising the council for its treatment of a man in a wheelchair was discussed, noted that Cllr Devichand's main contribution to the discussion was to remind councillors that it was nothing to do with her because she was not in charge at the time.

The remaining 7 members of the Board have between them clocked up just 9 decision meetings in five months.

We have two months to go before the wind-down to Christmas begins.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The word 'sinecure' springs to mind. Nice work if you can get it!