This month's Sermon from the Mount will add to the bemusement of council staff as Mr James predicts that the excessive cuts being passed on from the Welsh Government will mean that Carmarthenshire Council will almost cease to exist. The cuts, staff are told, will be"devastating!" and that the council may become a "shadow of itself".
Perhaps the most surprising comment from Mr James is, "there is no way I can dress this up"...but I suppose there's a first time for everything.
Instead of having to find £30m of 'savings' over the next three years, the predicted figures now range between £40m to £60m, depending on the final budgeting decisions of the Welsh Government.
Clearly this is a serious situation and one shared across Welsh councils. I'm sure many council staff are becoming increasingly concerned about their jobs, and in his latest diktat Mr James helpfully reminds them that the council "will employ substantially fewer staff". It remains to be seen whether that will include the non-statutory position of chief executive.
As well as considering which frontline services to squeeze further, the "wholesale transfer of services to other bodies" are also on the cards, though details are so far left to the imagination. I imagine hefty hikes in council tax are on the cards too, although that remains unsaid, so far...
One can only hope that the years of generosity shown to organisations such as their christian fundamentalist 'partners', the Towy Community Church and of course, the Scarlets, are now a thing of the past. As for the latter, it's a pity that retiring Director of Resources had the rug pulled from under his feet at the last minute in his attempts to secure a better deal for the taxpayer over the car park sale.
It was just a matter of luck I suppose that these additional "catastrophic" cuts came so completely 'out of the blue', after all, it was just a few short months ago that the services of Mr Kerr QC were so urgently required to defend the chief executive and those involved in all that financial unlawfulness. At that point they only had to find £30m savings.
By refusing to accept the auditor's findings last summer, the senior officials and executive board muppets have cost the taxpayer well over £100,000 for the QC, the extra audit fees etc...and of course the unlawful payments themselves totalling a cool £57,000. Naturally, with the council press office at their disposal, there was no problem 'dressing' all that up.
At the full council meeting last month the chief executive paid tribute to the retiring Director of Resources, Roger Jones, and added that Mr Jones always treated taxpayers money as if it were his own. This was a compliment of course, but in the event that such a comment were ever made to the chief executive, it could, given certain examples, be taken quite literally.