Wednesday 16 October 2013

Private Eye - Naughty Boyos

The last edition of Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs column featured the libel indemnity granted to the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire Council which the appointed auditor has deemed unlawful - see Carmarthenshire Council, local coverage..and back in Private Eye.

This week's edition centres around the pension arrangements relating to the Chief Executives of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, also found to be unlawful.

Due to ongoing broadband problems I will have to upload an image of the article later on. So for now here's the text;

Naughty Boyos
Senior council officers in Wales have exploited an apparent loophole through which they can save tax on pension contributions from their employers. 
Bryn Parry-Jones, whose total 'package' as chief exec of Pembrokeshire county council is more than £200,000 a year, seized the chance to drop out of the Local Government Pension Scheme and take the county's annual £30,000+ contribution to his pension pot as a lump sum to be invested as he pleases - saving large amounts of tax following a change to the law in 2011. 
This arrangement was nodded through at a meeting of the council's 'senior staff committee' in September 2011, held in Mr Parry-Jones' office. Public and press were not present. The report recommending the dodge was authorised by the council's director of finance and head of human resources - both potential beneficiaries.. Parry-Jones, so far the only Pembrokeshire officer to have taken advantage of the scheme, was present throughout. Ain't life grand? 
Er, no, not necessarily. The Wales Audit Office (WAO) has refused to sign off Pembrokeshire's accounts pending further investigation. Last month the WAO branded a similar arrangement, whereby Carmarthenshire's chief exec Mark James, got a £16,353 lump sum in lieu of his 2012-13 pension payments. "Unlawful". Oh dear! (Private Eye 16th Oct)

What will happen next in Carmarthenshire regarding the two 'unlawful' payments remains to be seen. (Please see recent posts for more background on the Carmarthenshire situation )

Councillors in Pembrokeshire are, I believe, waiting for a date for an extraordinary meeting to call for the suspension of Mr Parry-Jones whilst the pension matter is investigated. Pembrokeshire councillors Jacob Williams and Mike Stoddart ( Old Grumpy of course) are both excellent sources to follow on the situation there.

As for this space.


Anonymous said...

After 25 years service this
article saddens me .If every
high earner in all authorities
gave back a percentage of their
earnings then their staff would
not be living in poverty !

Anonymous said...

Are they proposing to suspend him on full pay? Save the taxpayer money and redeploy him to street care and cleaning or waste and recycling. Hopefully he will learn the meaning of hard work and appreciate those of his employees on low pay.

Anonymous said...

If the payments have deemed to be unlawful then Mr James should be made to re-pay the unlawful payment back to the Council / Public Purse. If someone had been paid too much Housing Benefit or a frontline Coucil employee was over paid, the Finance Dept would soon be recovering the monies from them. Why is Mr James different in this regard??