Friday 31 January 2014

Council Crisis - Plaid Cymru to call for vote of no confidence in council leadership

 The Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire County Council has issued the following statement:
"The leader of the Plaid Cymru Opposition Group on Carmarthenshire Council, Councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, has announced his group will be meeting on Monday (3rd February) to discuss presenting motions of no confidence in three members of the Council’s Executive Board (Leader Kevin Madge, Former Leader Meryl Gravell and Deputy Leader Pam Palmer). 
The Plaid group will also be discussing no confidence motions in two of the Council’s most senior officials, namely the Chief Executive, Mark James, and the Head of Administration and Law, Linda Rees Jones.
Councillor Hughes-Griffiths strongly criticised the Labour Leader of the Council, Councillor Kevin Madge, for his complete lack of leadership in the matter, claiming that the Leader should have at the very least suspended the council officers pending further investigation.
Councillor Peter Hughes-Griffiths said:
“It is imperative that these two extremely damaging reports are discussed as a matter of urgency.  Carmarthenshire residents deserve answers and the council group I lead is not prepared to wait.
“We cannot go into a meeting to discuss the authority’s budget next month when we have no confidence in the political leadership and some of the council’s senior staff.
“Carmarthenshire Council has been bereft of political leadership which has sadly continued since the publication of these reports.   It appears that every member of the Executive Board has gone into hiding and has not taken an ounce of responsibility for their actions.
“If I was leading this authority I would have at the very least suspended senior officers pending further investigation.  It is the bare minimum which should be done given the seriousness of the Auditor’s findings.  Furthermore, if I was responsible for spending tens of thousands of pounds unlawfully, I would do the honourable thing and stand down.
“The opposition group will meet on Monday evening to discuss presenting motions of no confidence against three Executive Board members and two senior officers.  There is overwhelming evidence from the Wales Audit Office to say these people cannot continue in their posts.
“I emphasise that an extraordinary meeting must be held.  The people of Carmarthenshire will rightly expect their local councillor – irrespective of political party – to agree to this meeting without hesitation."


Anonymous said...

What are the numbers here. Can the opposition make any inroads?

Cneifiwr said...

Plaid has 28 out of 74 seats. In addition there are 2 "independent" independents. Not a majority. It will all come down to whether any of the Labour or Independent councillors decide they cannot stomach any more - either by voting with Plaid or just staying away.

For the officers the situation is becoming rapidly impossible. With almost half of the councillors saying they have no confidence in them, their authority is gone.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @12.01 on 16 Feb. Can I suggest that you take up your complaint with Peter Hughes Griffiths direct.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @12.01. I have to admit to feeling that I have acted a little harshly in not publishing your question.

In my defence, the question is not related to this post.

Second, the affair (which is by the way quite old now) did receive quite a lot of comment at the time.

As is normal practice in such cases which involve an individual, the details are not made public.

It is highly unlikely that details will ever come out, and I am not sure why you think Peter Hughes Griffiths is in some special way responsible, apart from being a town councillor. You could equally well ask Phil Grice, but I don't think you'll get anything out of him either.

Personally I have no idea what happened, apart from the likelihood that there was a case which went before an employment tribunal. That sort of thing happens in lots of workplaces, and the vast majority go unreported. Where they become a matter for public concern is when there is evidence of systematic abuse of staff in a culture of bullying. I have not seen any evidence to suggest that this is the case in the town council.

For these reasons I felt that the question was an attempt to smear a thoroughly decent man in order to try to divert attention from what is happening in County Hall.

If you are not happy with this, please feel free to get in touch by e-mail.