Carmarthenshire County Council has published the agenda for next Thursday's extraordinary meeting to discuss the pension and libel indemnity scandals.
Mark James may have left the building, but there is no sign that the council is about to wave the white flag and back down in its war with the Wales Audit Office.
Indeed, the tone of the reports prepared by officers for the meeting is wholly unrepentant. The report on the libel indemnity was co-written by acting Head of Law, Linda Rees Jones, and for reasons which are not clear by Roger Jones (Director of Resources).
The Libel Indemnity
The documents published with the agenda add little to what has already been released, although they include for the first time a copy of the legal advice sought by the Wales Audit on the libel indemnity. The covering report also reveals that Mr James is now funding his defence of Jacqui Thompson's appeal himself.
Not released is the legal advice provided by Adam Speker, Mark James's barrister. The report prepared for councillors persists in citing Mr Speker's opinions as though he were an independent source of legal advice rather than someone being paid to act for one side in a lawsuit. Using the same yardstick, the report should also have set out the views of Jacqui Thompson's counsel.
It states that the WAO report makes no allegations of misconduct by members or officers, although neglects to mention that after reading the two public interest reports the police and Crown Prosecution Service felt that an investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing was justified.
Mrs Rees Jones also points out to councillors that under the constitution, officers have delegated powers to approve indemnities, and they did not actually need to ask the Executive Board at all.
However, because they recognised that this escapade might just be a little bit controversial, they took matter to the Executive Board, then headed by Meryl Gravell with Kevin Madge as deputy, and Pam Palmer as another leading light. The Executive Board, as we know, was so enthusiastic that according to Mrs Rees Jones it decided it did not need any further legal advice, and so rubber stamped the legal action.
Mrs Rees Jones has therefore rather neatly reminded everybody that they were all in it together.
Also not released is the complete correspondence between Mrs Rees Jones and the WAO. Readers may remember that the WAO described an earlier release of e-mails as "selective", and that Kevin Madge has been promising to put everything on the table.
The council's justification for the libel indemnity rests almost wholly on an interpretation of one sentence in the Explanatory Notes to a Welsh Assembly Order which says that the powers granted by the 2006 Order are in addition to any existing powers.
The council is interpreting this, it seems, to mean that when the Welsh Government expressly forbade indemnities for council officers bringing libel actions, it was giving councils a new power.
Next time you tell your children or grandchildren that they are not allowed to wreck the house, try telling them that what you are really doing is giving them new rights and freedoms. Well, at least it will confuse them, just as it will some of the befuddled councillors on the Independent benches.
The Pension Pay Supplement
This arrangement, branded unlawful by the WAO, has now been withdrawn. It is not clear whether the money paid to Mark James will be clawed back.
The documents released include a fairly short report produced by a company called Total Reward Projects Ltd based in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex recommending the pay supplement. This was presented to the Executive Board with a covering report produced by assistant chief executive, Paul Thomas. Mr Thomas's report concludes that there are no legal implications in implementing this new policy (presumably on the advice of Mrs Linda Rees Jones). Oops.
Unlike their colleagues in Pembrokeshire, councillors in Carmarthenshire will also be allowed to see the legal advice provided by Mr Timothy Kerr QC dealing with the pension pay supplement. At least, they will be shown some of it, because councillors in Pembrokeshire were told that there were two separate pieces of advice produced in September and November 2013.The only document attached to the Carmarthenshire report is dated September.
How all this will all pan out on Thursday we shall see, but in reality the important decisions will not now be taken in Carmarthen, but by the Gloucestershire Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service.