Tuesday 18 February 2014

Councils in Crisis: Three charged with misconduct in Caerphilly

The Western Mail has just broken the news that the chief executive of Caerphilly, his deputy and the former monitoring officer are all to be charged with misconduct in public office.

In Carmarthen, the Plaid Cymru group has confirmed that it has tabled a motion of no confidence in the council leader, Kevin Madge (Lab), former leader Meryl Gravell (Ind) and deputy leader and leader of the Independent group, Pam Palmer, at the extraordinary meeting to be held on 27 February.

It has also been confirmed that Mr Timothy Kerr QC, affectionately known to some readers of this blog as Mr Kerr-Ching, will be attending the meeting at a cost understood to be in excess of £6,000.

Peter Hughes Griffiths, the Plaid leader, said there was no need at all for Mr Kerr to come to Carmarthen to waste more public money defending the indefensible.

For those of you who can't wait for next Thursday's meeting, the council will be meeting in public tomorrow to approve the budget for 2014-15. Expect lots of talk from Kev about making the 'ard decisions while his pet ostriches run around in the sand.

The text of the Plaid statement announcing the motion of no confidence follows.


At next week’s Extraordinary Meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council ( Thurs. 27 Feb) to discuss a damning Wales Audit Office report, the Plaid Cymru opposition group will present a motion of no confidence in three senior councillors. The issue is already the subject of a police inquiry and the council’s Chief Executive has agreed to ‘stand aside’ pending its outcome. Following a meeting last night of the 28-strong Plaid group on the county council, their leader Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, made this statement.
"It’s unbelievable that Chief Executive Mark James was not immediately suspended once the police inquiry was announced. Council Leader Kevin Madge dithered and dallied until the situation became totally untenable. Even then, we only had a ‘compromise’ agreement. We still don’t know the conditions relating to Mr James’ ‘standing aside’.  The press have been told by the council that Mr James remains on full pay, although they’ve told us – as elected members - nothing.That said, the important thing is that the Chief Executive is out of the frame until this issue is resolved.
Plaid Cymru will fiercely resist any attempt at interference in a democratic debate and vote on this most important issue at next week’s extraordinary meeting to discuss the Wales Audit Office report. We will not be dictated to by London QC Timothy Kerr, who, when he appeared in Pembrokeshire council chamber last week, acted as monitoring officer for the Executive Board by naming councillors he believed should not take part in the debate due to having made allegedly prejudicial comments in the press. We maintain it is Mr Kerr who should not be allowed to participate in any debate. Indeed, he need not come to Carmarthen at all. Although we’ve not been given the actual sum, it’s believed that Mr Kerr will be paid at least £6,000 for attending the meeting on the 27th to give advice. Plaid believes this is an irresponsible and unnecessary waste of taxpayers’ money. The Executive Board are throwing good money after bad in their stubborn defence of the indefensible, being the Welsh Auditor’s ruling that they acted unlawfully in two matters.
Their arrogant attitude compounds the original ‘offence’ and shows why council Leader Kevin Madge should stand down. At the council meeting on the 27th Plaid will present a Notice of Motion of no confidence in Cllr Madge, past Leader Cllr Meryl Gravell and present deputy Leader Cllr. Pam Palmer on the grounds that all three were members of the Executive Board that made the decisions deemed ‘unlawful’ by the WAO."


Anonymous said...

And if the Monitoring Officer or the QC attempt to stop you from speaking citing predetermination - stand your ground. Let the police come to remove you rather than remove yourselves as they did (wrongly in my opinion) in Caerphilly.

Anonymous said...

And how exactly does the Carmarthen situation differ from that in Caerphilly?

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @17.16 A very good question. According to our Labour councillors there is a world of difference. However, it's now up to Gloucestershire Constabulary and the CPS to decide.

Anonymous said...

Go for it PHG. We are behind you all the way.

Anonymous said...

People are struggling to make ends meet,and they are
going to pay £6,000 to one man for one day?The Labour
Party in Carmarthenshire are beyond belief,they are for the working class,what a joke,the independants don't know what they stand for anyway.concentrate on getting good quality jobs instead ot trying to protect one of the
Fat cats that is what they should be doing.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting programme on S4C tonight - Byd ar Bedwar discussing the cuts to Council budgets and Chief Exec. pay.
Carwyn Jones in interview said that it was difficult to justify this salary. Not to be missed next week's programme on the unlawful payments issue involving Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Anonymous said...

Interesting here: