Pembrokeshire County Council's Corporate Governance Committee (the equivalent of Carmarthenshire's Audit Committee) today signed off the accounts for 2012-13 despite the auditor's warnings about the legality of the tax dodge pension scheme brought into help a couple of the council's top earning officers.
The vote was 7 to 6, with the ruling IPPG group winning the day over a united opposition. The Western Telegraph's report can be found here.
Pembrokeshire politics are bizarre to put it mildly, as anyone who has followed the chronicles of Old Grumpy will know, but the IPPG group is made up for the most part of Tory-leaning "Independents" plus a scattering of others who, Old Grumpy suggests, usually appear to have been enticed into the fold by the lure of special responsibility allowances.
Not much different to Carmarthenshire's so-called Independents who look and act just like a political party, but don't publish a manifesto or tell voters what they stand for.
The Carmarthenshire Independents are often referred to as the political wing of the council's senior officers, and it seems things in Pembrokeshire are not much different.
The Wales Audit Office told Carmarthenshire's Audit Committee on Friday that the accounts themselves can be signed off (indeed the WAO recommended sign off), but said the full audit cannot be signed off until the two matters (indemnity and pension fund payment) were resolved.
I suspect this is what has happened in Pembrokeshire too.
Paul Miller was quite right to call for the Chief Exec Officer to be suspended. How many staff further down the ladder have been suspended during an investigation?
15.51 is right & the decision re Pension & Indemnity was placed firmly back on Exec Board by unanimous Audit Committee
According to the Milford and West Wales Mercury, "Cllr Adams, who was deputy leader at the time, said advice was received from central government for employers and employees to renegotiate contracts." Really!! So why was it not open to EMPLOYEES across the board?
Clearly, Mr Adams should have read the LA's Strategic Equality Plan which states amongst other things that "In common with other local authorities, the Council recognises that its existing pay structures have within them certain pay inequality features, and thus require reform" and "The regulations for the Act make it clear that we should assess the equality impact of proposed changes when we are making policy or practice decisions."
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