Thursday 9 October 2014

Air mail

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Carmarthenshire County Council has two constitutions: there's a published collection of documents, and then there's another set of rules known only to the Chief Executive and his legal enforcer, the Monitoring Officer.

One of the rules which has been strictly enforced by this pair during the last couple of years is that councillors are not allowed to raise anything that is not on the agenda, which is controlled by the Chief Executive of course. The unpublished constitution qualifies this by allowing questions such as, "Would the Leader like to tell us why Carmarthenshire has the best run county council in Wales?" Similarly if you are fortunate enough to be the Chief Executive you can say anything you like, regardless of whether it's on the agenda or not, and then enforce the published rules to prevent anyone from answering back.

We were treated to a classic example of the interplay of the two sets of rules yesterday when the Chief Executive suddenly announced that he had received a letter from the European Commission saying that it would not be pursuing a complaint that the council's funding of the Scarlets had breached EU competition law.

Cllr Siân Caiach was then prevented from speaking to ensure that Mr James, as usual, had the last word, and councillors and the public were left with the impression that this was the end of the saga.

That is not the case because, as the Chief Executive very likely knows, the letter related to one specific complaint, and there are others still under investigation. Yesterday's victory jig was a little premature.

A useful summary of what this is all about was provided by the BBC at the end of last year.


Redhead said...

Ask to see the letter

Anonymous said...

Sian Ciach is one hell of a local councillor