Saturday 29 November 2014

Keeping up with the Parry-Jones's

Twitter was buzzing last night after the BBC reported that the former chief executive of Pembrokeshire County Council, Bryn Parry-Jones, was given a £90,000 Porsche Panamera as his runabout.

It took 8 months for Aled Scourfield to get the council to disclose the information in response to his freedom of information requests, with the council blocking earlier attempts by arguing that the information was private and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

The image the council would like to portray to the outside world is one of impartial council officers wanting to be open and transparent, carefully weighing up the legal pros and cons, but regretfully having to reject FOIs because they were hamstrung by the legislation.

A more likely explanation is that, just like neighbouring Carmarthenshire, freedom of information requests are handled by the chief executive's department in Haverfordwest, and it was Bryn Parry-Jones who got to decide what information could and could not be disclosed.

So congratulations to Aled for persisting with his investigation, although the existence of the Porsche has been known for quite a long time. The Pembrokeshire Herald reported earlier this year that the council was paying insurance on a Porsche Panamera which had been designated as a family car for the use of the Parry-Jones's.

There are as far as we know no Porsches on the books of Carmarthenshire County Council, but anyone going to County Hall in Carmarthen will have been struck by the row of gleaming Mercs, BMWs and other luxury cars parked in the VIP slots either side of the main entrance.

Any FOI requests asking impertinent questions about the chief executive's choice of vehicle are likely to suffer the same fate as the BBC's earlier attempts, but thanks to an FOI request from a member of the public a couple of years ago, we know that vehicles leased by the council at the time included several luxury cars - a Jaguar, a couple of Mercedes and some very nice (and expensive) Volkswagens among them.

The balance of probability is that these vehicles were not for the use of dinner ladies.

As Kevin Madge never fails to remind us, these are 'ard times, so perhaps it is time for another FOI on the council's car fleet to see if there has been any noticeable belt tightening.

A trip to County Hall would suggest that it is still very much business as usual.


Anonymous said...

Unbelievable and totally immmoral Whoever.
sanctioned this should most certainly be exposed.On second thoughts though we all know who it was in Carmarthen

Anonymous said...

We know what the situation is in Carmarthen - what is like in Ceredigion or Swansea - suspect big posh cars are evident

Anonymous said...

Has BPJ been allowed to keep this car or has it been handed back for some other lucky PCC person to use?

Anonymous said...

Only in Wales, huh.

Is this why they like to keep educating the young so badly?

Third world country going rapidly downhill.

Black Ice said...

Cannot answer that question - it's not on the Agenda.

Blodwen said...

The question of what has happened to the Porsche is currently being discussed on Jacob Williams's Pembrokeshire blog. No-one seems to know its fate. Surely it can't still be in the Parry-Jones family's possession can it. Can it?

Anonymous said...

BPJ would probably have been given the option to purchase the car

Swan said...

The title of this article (and a separate occurrence within) makes reference to the plural of Parry-Jones, as in: multiple members of the Parry-Jones family, collectively.

As a rule, apostrophes shouldn't be used to form the plurals of nouns. Such mistakes are common, so common in fact they are known as greengrocer's apostrophes, for such ignorance is the wont of greengrocers the English-speaking world over.

It's Parry-Joneses, not Parry-Jones's.