The live broadcast of Carmarthenshire County Council's monthly meetings has until today been executed professionally, with good camera work and generally clear sound, but today's meeting appears to have been a shambles from beginning to end. The broadcast was unavailable for a huge chunk of the session, including the entire presentation by the Scarlets to councillors. If that was not embarrassing enough, the interpreter seems to have disappeared at some point, forcing everyone to switch to English, and then there were repeated problems with the sound. Sometimes it was because councillors forgot to switch on their mikes (and the Chair forgot to remind them), and sometimes the sound was just switched off; mysteriously this only seemed to happen to councillors such as Labour's Bill Thomas, who was cut off in the middle of some comments which won't have gone down well with the bosses.
All of this may be coincidence, but the powers-that-be have been making increasingly threatening noises about the future of filming the monthly council meetings, and it is obvious that there are those in senior positions who would dearly like to see this experiment in transparency brought to an end. The argument put forward at a meeting of the Democratic Services committee at the end of November was that the demands of filming the meetings are such, that staff are severely over-stretched.
Hey presto, a couple of weeks later and the public and councillors were given a taste of what the senior officers meant.
The numbers of viewers may be relatively low, and today's episode won't help, but far, far more people have watched council meetings online than ever used to sit in the gallery.
So while more and more Welsh councils start filming their meetings, it seems that Carmarthenshire is about to turn the clock back, and insist that the only way the public can find out about what happens in council meetings is by taking time off and perching uncomfortably in the gloomy surroundings of the public gallery.
The farce continued right up to the final seconds after the Chair had closed the meeting. As he turned to leave the meeting he spoke to Dave Gilbert, Director of Regeneration, who was standing in for the absent Mark James. "And I thought it was going so well.....", he complained before the mikes went dead.
Not sure if this is farce turning into tragedy or vice versa.
I watched it from the start. What was interesting was that when it finally went on line, and Mr Tait(?) was about to start, the Chair warned the councillors that they were now live and to be careful what they said. But it was so fast and my Cymraeg is a bit rusty so I may be mistaken.
Technical faults not a conspiracy with engineers being called apparently when the system failed to boot up .But just in case you may have to leave your warm NCE home and you & Mrs T meet up again the gallery = perhaps romance will blossom !!
Anon @22.39 The system should have been tested before the meeting began, and that does not explain the sound problems or the missing interpreter.
The council doesn't want to let the public film, but today's effort was appalling.
If you are a councillor and think that public access to council meetings is trivial and about personal comforts then you really don't even begin to get it.
I know that the antics of that lot down in Carmarthen is bad for the image of Carmarthenshire,the tax payer etc.
But it is the best comedy show available at the moment.
How rude and immature you are anon 22:39!! You are, of course entitled to your opinion regarding technical faults but the suggestion you make in respect of Mrs T and Cneifiwr is uncalled for, distasteful and appalling!!!
If Cllrs Sian Caiach and Cllrs Bill Thomas are reading this blog, I just want to say, you are not only a credit to the electorate but to all employees in CCC, particularly to those who are still living in fear! Thank you!!!!!! Heres wishing you a Merry Xmas and a very Happy New Year!!!!!!
To others at the meeting who paid lip service to whistle blowers; you know who you are. Shame on you!!!!
you've written about the testing times Newcastle Emlyn secondary school has had to go through lately. Walesonline are carrying a story with swish graphics saying Newcastle Emlyn are outperforming near neighbours Whitland and Bro Myrddin!
Anon @14.50 - it's been quite a time since I wrote about Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, but yes, this is good news. An enormous amount of effort has gone into turning things around, and the staff, governors and pupils deserve praise.
Anon 11th Dec @ 22.39 - what are you doing up so late? Haven't you got school in the morning?!
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