Thursday, 7 April 2011

Vote of No Confidence in Executive Board Member

With the fall out over the decision to keep open the two Llanelli care homes continuing, I notice that next week's full Council meeting has an interesting item on the Agenda. There is a proposed Vote of No Confidence in the Executive Board Member for Social Care, Cllr Pat Jones. It is being put forward by Cllr A Davies and reads;
"It is with deep regret but I have no alternative but to put forward a vote of no confidence in Cabinet Member for Social Care, Cllr Pat Jones, following the decision of full Council not to close Caemaen and St Paul's Care Homes. Her previously fixed views of the urgent need to close these homes and her lack of sensitivityt to the plight of the elderly residents does not convince me that she will be fully committed to follow the new direction that Full Council has dedicated.
The flawed consultation procedure was not only severely criticised by the elderly residents; their relatives; the public; local Councillors but also the Elderly People's Commissioner. Despite the public's tremendous outcry, the emotive public meetings, the numerous newspaper articles and the petition, Cllr Pat Jones support from the officer's proposal was unrelenting.
In conclusion the manner in which this serious issue has been conducted has been both insensitive and impassive. Cllr Pat Jones' indifference to the desperate appeals from the elderly residents has damaged the credibility and the standing of the Council demonstrating a serious defect in her objectivity and leadership"
I think it speaks for itself. The unremitting scorn poured on the democratic vote and the inaccurate scaremongering over the cost of keeping the homes open by the Leader, Cllr Meryl Gravell should also be called into question.  
The Executive Board, as I have said before, functions as a rubber stamp for officer decisions. They have consistently supported cuts to council services which target the elderly and the vulnerable  and any rebellion amongst the rank and file of Councillors is treated by the Leader as self serving and 'politically motivated'. I predict that Gravell will step down as Leader next year if not before and perhaps, with an influx of new Members, some element of true democracy will enter the Chamber.
It should be an interesting meeting next week, I'll have to pop along....

(Cllr Jones speaking at Care Home debate 28th Feb;

Another item on the Agenda is the 'Draft Deposit Carmarthenshire Local Develoment Plan', already a year behind schedule, to be approved for public consultation. (link here). The Report itself is 251 pages long and, if you care to read it you will find it consists mainly of three words; strategic, strategy and sustainable put together in various combinations. It is, of course supposed to outline the development of Carmarthenshire over the next 15 years or so, and you will find a list of maps which include (I believe) land put forward for development which has been accepted for inclusion in the plan.

Update 22nd April;
Cllr Jones survived the Vote of no confidence; , Cllr Sian Caiach described the 'debate' as a 'travesty of democracy'.
She's right, it was.
I was a little surprised, as apparently were a few of the Plaid councillors, that the Leader of the Plaid group, Peter Hughes Griffiths leapt in to denounce the vote of no confidence. I have also heard that before the meeting, Plaid had agreed with the other two groups to oppose the vote in exchange for Mark James honouring the vote of full council to keep St Pauls and Caemaen open - which might explain things. But
perhaps Mr Griffiths ought to consider that in his own town, Carmarthen, Cllr Pat Jones is going to close two homes with a total of 60 beds and replace them with a new build with 12 beds. I wonder how he's going to get Mark to help him out of that one?

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