Sunday 29 December 2013

A Public Menace

The Executive Board of Carmarthenshire County Council will hold its first meeting of 2014 on 6 January, and prominent among the items to be rubber-stamped on the agenda is an update on the libel case between the chief executive, Mark James, and Jacqui Thompson. Mr James is, of course, responsible for putting together the agenda.

The normal staple of Executive Board meeting agendas is reports to be noted and recommendations to be given the seal of approval. No action is required in the case of the update, but the board members and assembled officers will be treated to a recital of the crimes and misdemeanours of Mrs T, arch-villain and demon blogger, in celebration of the Appeal Court's rejection of her attempt to broaden the scope of her appeal against the verdict.

Harassment, intimidation, perversion of the course of justice, defamation and dishonesty. Mrs T is guilty of the lot, the report thunders. What a pity that transportation to the colonies, burning at the stake and public hanging are no longer options for this persistent critic of the chief executive.

Perhaps publication of this report shows that the council is turning over a new leaf and dispensing with its secretive old ways of doing business.

When the chief executive was awarded the indemnity which funded his counter-claim, the report was exempted from publication and approved in private. The minutes of the meeting back in January 2012 did not even say who was being awarded an indemnity.

As even the most dim-witted members of the Executive Board will be aware, the Wales Audit Office decided that the indemnity was unlawful, and it is likely that they will be presented with a report detailing their shortcomings a week or so after the 6 January meeting.

Perhaps they would be wise to keep the champagne on ice.

In the meantime and in the spirit of the council's new-found commitment to transparency and open government, perhaps the Executive Board would like to tell us whether the indemnity awarded in January 2012 was an open-ended blank cheque, and what the true extent of costs to the council has been so far. The presence last month of a four-man legal team representing Mr James at the Appeal Court hearing (it is apparently unusual for non-appellants to show up at all) shows that no expense is being spared in the battle against the Beast of Llanwrda.


Anonymous said...

A very Happy New Year to everyone who comments on the wonderful blogs of Cneifiwr and Caebrwyn. As time goes by, and nothing seems to change in the way CCC conduct their business,it is so easy to give up the fight.
This must not happen.There is a new year ahead and everyone who truly desires change in the culture of secrecy existing
in Carmarthenshire council's administration should continue to hold them to account.
At the end of this year many questions remain unanswered but the evidence is there waiting for someone to really take charge.
Cneifiwr and Caebrwyn are essential in bringing their information to the wider public
and we must continue to support them by commenting on their truly excellent blogs.
I live in Swansea but have long been a follower of both.
I agree with a previous comment which said the review of this year's debacle showed so clearly the way CCC has conducted it's business.Reading it in this way rather than each month in isolation was very effective.
Good hunting in the new year.

Anonymous said...

How will the new libel laws coming in affect the junta in
Jail hill.?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 13.03 Will not affect the junta one bit, not whilst they still have their unique 'Libel Cost Amendment' sitting in the Constitution backed up with an unlimited supply of public money.