The technical glitch which was affecting councillors' annual reports on the English part of Carmarthenshire County Council's website has now been fixed, although if I were a councillor I would be very unhappy that these documents are tucked away in such an obscure corner.
We were fortunate that this exercise should have kicked off with two of the most hilarious examples we are likely to see (Pam and Meryl). Whether the rest of the Executive Board and recipients of Special Responsibility Allowances will now follow suit remains to be seen, and it is sadly likely that some of the councillors with potentially the most entertaining accounts will decide that the least said, the better.
Backbench and opposition councillors will by and large have little to say apart from routine ward issues, although it is interesting to note how some individuals have rapidly acquired a clutch of committee memberships, external appointments or representative roles despite an almost total lack of experience.
Lack of experience is not an accusation which can be levelled at Peter Hughes Griffiths (Carmarthen North, Plaid), leader of the opposition on the council. He has produced the sort of report we can expect from the majority of councillors, detailing everyday ward issues. His attendance record last year was 100%.
Sharen Davies (Llwynhendy, Lab.) is a young councillor first elected in 2012. She holds three committee memberships, and has managed to submit over 800 enquiries to council departments since being elected, including 309 to the Housing Department.
She attended 95% of the council meetings she was supposed to attend.
Keith Davies (Kidwelly, Lab.) is member of the Executive Board with responsibility for Education and Children's Services. He was also briefly Welsh language "champion", and is now the council's Ambassador for the National Eisteddfod.
Let's hope being Eisteddfod Ambassador does not include having to produce any correspondence in Welsh.
In common with Meryl Gravell, Keith Davies produces a long list of achievements in his capacity as Executive Board member for Education and Children's Services, although most of these were initiated long before he took on the role. Not mentioned is his achievement in driving the final nail into the coffin of Ysgol Pantycelyn in Llandovery.
Closer to home Ysgol Gymraeg Gwenllian in Kidwelly would very much like a new school under the Schools for the 21st Century Programme. The Education Department is currently looking into the matter, he says, although he really ought to have told them that they should be pinning their hopes on the Schools for the 22nd Century Programme.
Cllr Davies notched up an attendance record of 82%.
I seem to remember that Cllr Caiach was restricted from making officer enquiries by the Chief Executive because she made 'too many'. Clearly Cllr Sharen Davies, with 800 under her belt, must be making the 'right' sort of enquiries....
Cllr S Davies is Cllr Tegwen Devichand's daughter - maybe this explains her allowed "freedom to enquire"?
Ah, I'd forgotten that....nepotism... lovely. Cllr Devichand is exec board member for housing too...
Peter Hughes Griffith attended 100% of 15 meetings!
I should think so too, for 13K plus a senior salary making 20K+ a year i'd have 100% for 15 meetings!
these figures surley can't be serious
Anon @11.56 You might want to ask why Meryl (salary £28,780) managed only 78% of meetings, and why it is apparently OK for recipients of senior salaries to skip meetings and go on holiday.
You all might want to browse the current vacancies on CCC's website and compare Cllr's salaries to those advertised i.e. zero hour, pro rata, casual, fixed term. Councillors should lead by example i.e. No work, no pay and receive the minimum wage.
The Government maintain, “a councillor is a voluntary public service and not a salaried job.”
Do readers know of any other voluntary service that remunerate their volunteers so handsomely with a salary and perks?
A very good and sore point Anon @ 13.31. Let's just say that I know all too well what it's like to work on a zero hours contract for a local authority.
Thank you Cneifiwr! Having been underemployed for several years on zero hour, pro rata, casual and fixed term contracts in both the private and public sector, I can truly empathise!
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