Wednesday 5 February 2014

Council Crisis - Plaid responds to publication of legal advice

Below is the full text of a press release issued earlier this evening by the Plaid group on Carmarthenshire County Council.
This blog is working on a more detailed analysis of the reports, but Cllr Evans is correct to say that the two reports do not exonerate Kevin Madge, Mark James and the rest. In fact some of the information contained in them makes the council's position even worse.
Responding to the statement by Councillor Kevin Madge in which he publishes two sets of legal advice regarding the decision to grant an indemnity to the Chief Executive, Deputy Leader of the Plaid Cymru opposition Councillor group, Councillor Tyssul Evans said: 
"We welcome this rare ritual of transparency from the Council's leadership.  The Council's statement now refers to three sets of legal advice - The first is from 2008 which strongly advised the Council against granting an indemnity to cover the legal action of the Chief Executive. 
“The second refers to advice given verbally to the Executive Board prior to making the decision. We have difficulty in accepting the independence of this verbal information as there is no record of it being given, and it was from the same QC who was representing the Chief Executive in Court. 
“The third piece of advice relates to information provided 22 months after the Executive Board made its decision to grant the indemnity.  Unless the Executive Board has fortune telling abilities we would suggest that this legal opinion is irrelevant in relation to the findings of the Wales Audit Office.
"Furthermore, the Wales Audit Office saw both sets of legal advice and still concluded that the actions of the Council's leadership were unlawful.  The Council has not provided any new evidence.
"The Leader of the Council has promised to publish all information relating to the Wales Audit Office reports.  We therefore call on him to now publish in full the report presented to him, former Leader Meryl Gravell, Deputy Leader Pam Palmer and the rest of the Executive Board on which the 'unlawful' decision to indemnify the Chief Executive's legal costs was based. 
"Regarding the 'unlawful' pay and pension changes, we call upon the Council leader to publish the report by Total Rewards Project Ltd. - the content of which led the Executive Board to approve the Chief Executive having his pension contributions paid directly to him.  We further call for publication of the legal advice the Council received towards the end of last year which led to the arrangement being withdrawn.
"As things stand, the Council leadership has yet to provide the magic bullet which vindicates the astonishing position it is taking in contesting the findings of the independent Audit Office."


Anonymous said...

You've got to hand it to the Plaid Cymru group. Their statements have been professional and succinct throughout this whole process.

As the council leadership runs around like headless chickens issuing statement after statement which tells us nothing and raises even more questions, the opposition, under Peter Hughes Griffiths's leadership - with a strong duo of national politicians in Jonathan Edwards and Rodri Glyn Tomas - is running rings around Mr Madge and Mr James.

Tyssul Evans and Plaid Cymru have played a blinder here. The pensions fiasco must have been unlawful because the leadership withdrew the policy. Kevin Madge said he's got nothing to hide and that all will be revealed.... Well, Council Leader Madge, let's see all of the paperwork!

Anonymous said...

First class statement, Tyssul Evans. I have no political affiliation, however I read the legal advice published by CCC yesterday and felt even more troubled by the state of leadership at County Hall! What is the validity of verbal legal advice with no public record ? and of what significance is advice given long after the horse has bolted? The public need to see all the advice provided by private consultancies paid by the council to justify unlawful pension payemnts.

Anonymous said...

So, Independents, where do you stand - after all, you ARE independent aren't you and you DO put your constituents first .....

Anonymous said...

If they are innocent, wouldn't they have provided all the documentation to prove it by now? Speaks volumes!