Senior Council officers and elected leadership must go, say Plaid Cymru MP and AM

Politicians respond to damning Wales Audit Office reports into Carmarthenshire County Council

JE & RGT

 

Following the publication of two damaging Wales Audit Office reports into the indemnity and pension arrangements of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Mark James, Plaid Cymru politicians Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Jonathan Edwards MP have issued the following statement. 

Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:

“There is no way in which the council can gloss over what are two significantly damaging reports.  This is a very dark day for Carmarthenshire, a dark day for democracy in Carmarthenshire, and is an example of what happens when you have a very weak executive and a council controlled by powerful unelected officers.

“The decision taken by the political leadership of the council to approve an indemnity for the Chief Executive was based on a sexed-up dossier that did not reflect the legal advice provided.  The gross misconduct of the council officers involved in drawing up the report has brought the council into disrepute and should be countered by instant dismissal.

“Councillors were misled into spending taxpayers’ money doing something the Council was to all intents and purposes cautioned against.  Members of the Executive Board have been exposed as incompetent in safeguarding public money and inept in holding highly-paid officers to account.  They further approved unlawful expenditure to suit the tax arrangements of the Chief Executive.

“The reports reaffirm our grave concerns that Carmarthenshire council has been gutted of all democracy as pre-meetings of the ruling Labour-Independent Executive Board take place behind the scenes before tokenistic rubbing stamping exercises follow in public, if at all.

“To restore public confidence there must be political accountability.  The Leader of the Council and former leader of the council should accept responsibility and do the honourable thing to enable a political reboot.

“Plaid Cymru has worked hard over the last year to introduce greater accountability into the remuneration packages of local authority chief executives, and has been successful in seeing changes to salaries being scrutinised by the independent remuneration board.

“We’ve done what we can to bring greater transparency on payments to senior council officers.  The Welsh government must now get a grip of the situation.”

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards added:

“For almost four years we have raised concerns with both Welsh & UK governments about the legality of the council’s indemnity for the Chief Executive’s counterclaim.  The Welsh government’s refusal to intervene in a council run by its Labour colleagues has seen Carmarthenshire taxpayers’ subjected to these unlawful expenditures when this could have been stopped.

“The unlawful indemnity and unlawful pension arrangements have seen over £55,000 of public money spent for the benefit of the Chief Executive who, on the basis of these reports, can no longer continue in his role.

“We agree with the Auditor that the indemnity should be withdrawn and we believe the almost £30,000 spent on this indemnity should be paid back in full.

“The Executive Board has acted wrongly in both instances – approving decisions worth tens of thousands of pounds without raising any formal questions or concerns.

“We pay tribute to the Appointed Auditor for his thorough report and his determination in bringing these issues into the public domain when Carmarthenshire Council had the audacity to tell him to keep his nose out.

“The Welsh government should immediately put the council into special measures to enable a new cross-party coalition to be set up to bring an end to this dark chapter in the history of local governance in Carmarthenshire.

“We call upon all Labour and Independent councillors whose parties run this council to look seriously at these reports and join us in restoring democracy to the county.  Carmarthenshire needs a complete reboot and new political leadership which it has so desperately lacked.

ENDS

_________________________________________

AUDIT OFFICE REPORTS:

Audit Office – Press Release

Audit Office Report – Libel Indemnity

Audit Office Report – Pension arrangements

 

7 Responses to “Senior Council officers and elected leadership must go, say Plaid Cymru MP and AM” [latest first]

  1. Da iawn wedi siarad!! I utterly agree with you both. The County Council Executive and inner ‘Cabal’ in the Carmarthen Kremlin completely subdue my patience! I am very glad and grateful that Llangadog voices are shared and supported by you. Mike Cottam

  2. What the heck is going on on Castle Hill Jonathan? What a shambles! Some people need the big boot into touch!!

  3. Well done for bringing this total disregard for the general puplic and their hard earned income to our attention.These so called officers should be made to resign as would any one in the private sector who misappropriated funds.
    Ex pat of Carmarthenshire

  4. Well done for bringing this total disregard for the general puplic and their hard earned income to our attention.These so called officers should be made to resign as would any one in the private sector who misappropriated funds.
    Ex pat of Carmarthenshire.

  5. Key word here is unlawful payments,

  6. Utterly shameful behaviour. The chief executive should go and the executive board members should be removed from office. This is Immoral, Illegal and in light of the current financial climate, hypocritical. Get them out…..

  7. Many, many thanks to you and Mr. Thomas for exsposing the blatant abuse of power and disregard for the democratic system surrounding the activities of some officers and members of CCC.
    The Welsh Assembly (unless it wishes to condone those activities) must take over the administration of CCC.
    Those involved should be suspended immediately, barred from Council property and their files and computers secured .
    Given the position adopted by the Executive Commitee to avoid any further conflict of interests the whole of CCC should be subject to a Judicial Review.
    The rate payers of Carmarthenshire deserve nothing less.

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