Following the recent outburst of transparency by a member of Carmarthenshire County Council's ruling Executive Board when Cllr Jeff Edmunds gave Cllr Siân Caiach the low-down on the increasingly byzantine tactics used to funnel more money into Parc y Scarlets, the Board is returning to form next week with two separate meetings, both of which contain exempt (i.e. secret) items.
The second meeting, on 4th December, is the more interesting, but there
is no point in any readers going along because the meeting will be
applying a public interest test to determine whether the sole agenda
item should be discussed behind closed doors.
One of the certainties of life in Carmarthenshire is that the Board will decide that press and public should be excluded.
mysterious item is advertised merely as "Review of the Authority's Pay
Supplement Policy to Senior Officers". You can read the policy for
yourselves here, and it's a pretty anodyne document.
the Board were doing what it says it is going to do on the agenda, i.e.
review the policy, it is hard to see why the item should be exempted
from disclosure because tweaking the rules would be unlikely to
reveal any sensitive information. However, that has not stopped the council from
slapping on exemptions in the past when it feels that it needs to hide
and we can only speculate here, there is a clue in paragraph 10.2 of
the document, where we are told that senior officer employment contracts deal with matters such as salary, telephone allowances, and oh, pension contributions. Who'd have thought it?
This may be pure coincidence, but we are rapidly approaching the time when the Wales Audit Office has threatened to publish two separate public interest reports dealing with the libel indemnity and.....pension contributions.
This may take some time, but watch this space.
The first meeting deals with a range of issues, including community asset transfers and a very weighty report on Swansea Bay City Region Economic Development Strategy 2013-2030. Boiled down to manageable proportions, the report concludes that the region is underperforming economically, and that more emphasis needs to be put on creating jobs. Turning to how those goals might be achieved, the sea mist rolls into Baglan Bay.
Here's a flavour of what the report says needs to be done in the form of four "cross cutting themes":
● Thinking and Delivering Together for City Region Success (effective partnership working);
● Quality and
Intelligence-driven Leadership and Action (long term Vision; strong and
capable leadership; decisions based on robust evidence and
● Being and Acting Connected (strengthening links within and outside City Region); and
● Understanding Sustainable Growth (embracing long-term solutions to deliver growth for present and future generations).
Bearing in mind that Meryl Gravell and Chief Executive Mark James both played a prominent part in a recent Swansea Bay City Region conference, readers can probably work out for themselves what vision and strong and capable leadership mean.
The council's management summary notes that this "bold and ambitious" plan has no financial implications, but at least it's creating employment for the report writers and conference organisers.