Thursday 6 February 2014

Council Crisis: Selective Information

Only a few days ago Carmarthenshire County Council issued a brief statement saying that it would have to give the auditor's reports careful consideration in due course, and that it would not be appropriate to comment further until such time.

Within hours of putting that out it issued the first of what has become a daily bombardment of increasingly aggressive press releases. The latest came out of nowhere yesterday, in response to nothing, attacking the Wales Audit Office.

Today the council followed up the press release by publishing what it says is the correspondence it had with the WAO which it believes shows that it is the maligned party. As with the QCs' reports published earlier this week, it actually makes matters worse and raises new questions about the judgement and conduct of Mrs Linda Rees Jones, among other things.

In one e-mail she tells the WAO that in her view opinions voiced by Adam Speker, Mark James's barrister in the libel trial, constitute independent legal advice. Legal advice they may be, but by no stretch of the imagination was a barrister acting for James in person an independent source of legal advice.

The Wales Audit Office has now replied, saying that the correspondence published today is selective (see BBC report here).

Selective and misleading statements, bullying, threats and attacks on the integrity of everyone from members of the public, MPs and AMs to public watchdogs such as the Ombudsman for Public Services: none of this will come as any surprise to many people in Carmarthenshire. The only surprise is that Mark James, Kevin Madge and the rest have convinced themselves that they are so immune from being held to account that they are now conducting their battles in public on a national stage.


Anonymous said...

awww, this ever developing story makes me regret not being on this gravy train, walking the corridors past executives in meeting rooms with anxious faces.

Anonymous said...

Tarring all Council employees with the same brush is wrong on so many levels. Most of the employees are Carmarthenshire residents and Council tax payers themselves and work hard and diligently for the benefit of Carmarthenshire as a County. Please restrict your comments to those who you feel you have evidence to criticise.
Best regards

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @20.42 I sincerely hope that I have not given the impression that all council employees are somehow involved. The council has been brought into disrepute by a tiny number at the top.

One of the things that makes me and many others very angry is the knowledge that almost a third of posts are paid less than the living wage, and that nearly all of those are women.

I'm also aware of the way in which many junior staff are treated.

Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Cneifwr it was not you but one of the commentators on an ealrier post with a comment about council employees and getting back to do the job we are paying you for!
Unhelpful and ill considered.

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Is anyone with enough tech savvy to subtitle Hitler's bunker rant from Der Untergang to reflect the goings on in Mark James CBE's office these days? Post us the YouTube link, please.

Or maybe the truth would be a trifle too close to fiction.

Anonymous said...

What are WAG waiting for? Do they want the public to camp outside the Assembly? Have they no respect for the citizens of Carmarthenshire and the WAO! Remember people that these clowns will be wanting you to vote for Labour at the next election!

Anonymous said...

@ anon 6 February 2014 18:34

"Gravy Train"? It'll be an arse-gravy train now amongst those involved!

@ 6 February 2014 20:42 + 22:55

Sorry - I had not considered any employees other than those directly involved with this scandal would not be getting on with what we pay you for. Nor had I considered that might be the interpretation of my accusation. I am sorry for offence caused.

Anonymous said...

It may be that I am being over sensitive but the phraseology of your apology still rankles with me. I am a council officer and a Carmarthen resident therefore by your analogy i pay myself. From what i understand you are saying , you are saying that as a council tax payer you are my employer?
I work for far more hours than I am paid for so not only do i pay myself i am working for free.