Wednesday 23 October 2013

Unlawful payments - Cllr Madge rules out suspension of Chief Executive..

Further to my most recent post on the subject, Unlawful payments, the story so far, the South Wales Guardian has made some enquiries;

Kevin Madge rules out suspending chief executive Mark James
Wednesday 23rd October 2013 
THE leader of Carmarthenshire County Council says there are no moves to suspend chief executive Mark James while claims of unlawful transactions are investigated. 
In Pembrokeshire, where chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones faces questions over pension payments Labour councillors have called for his suspension. 
But Cllr Kevin Madge (Lab) has ruled out such a move in Carmarthenshire, insisting the authority is satisfied two transactions questioned by the Wales Audit Office were lawful. 
The matters under scrutiny are the granting of a £23,217 indemnity to pay for Mr James’ legal costs in his libel case and counter claim against Towy Valley blogger Jacqui Thompson, plus remuneration totalling £16,353 paid in lieu of pension contributions.
(Link here)
It remains to be seen whether other councillors take a differing view to Mr Madge and exactly who, or what, constitutes 'the authority'. I know for a fact that not all 74 councillors think these payments were lawful.

Earlier this month the Wales Audit Office said;
“If the council continues to oppose his view he will also have to consider whether to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful.”

Today's news suggests that the stand-off is not only likely to continue, but looks set to escalate.

Update 24th Oct;
Pembrokeshire Cllr Jacob Williams reports that the signatories to the call for an Extraordinary Council meeting have deferred their request until the appointed auditor, Anthony Barrett, publishes his Public Interest Report into the pension affair, which will apparently be next month.

We can assume that Carmarthenshire's report will be published at the same time and will cover the pension and the libel indemnity.

The problem the councillors have, in both counties, is they have not been allowed to see the legal advice jointly commissioned to defend the two chief executives. Who has determined that the information is legally privileged is not known, but it leaves elected members who wish to question this sorry affair with one hand tied behind their back.
Neither is it known who exactly has seen the advice but clearly it includes not only the senior officers involved but the executive Members who rubber-stamped the decisions in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Kevin Madge go hang your head in shame!

Anonymous said...

It's not for Kevin Madge to say these payments were lawful. It is however for the Audit Office to say they are not, as the body who investigates accounts.

Kevin Madge should not only hang his head in shame he should retire as he is 'not fit for purpose'.

Anonymous said...

Suspension is not a decision about guilt or otherwise. It "stops the clock" on making matters worse or more complicated whilst an investigation takes place and is done on full salary for the person(s) suspended.

He is actually doing neither the Chief Executive nor himself any favours by avoiding a suspension, so maybe everyone should be encouraging him to dig himself and the Chief Executive into an even deeper hole since that is what they both appear to deserve!

Anonymous said...

The people who contribute to this site and it's authors time would be better spent getting a job,

Anonymous said...

Caebrwyn - you have obviously touched a sensitive nerve somewhere in the council, judging by the somewhat intemperate and ungrammatical response at Anon 08.53!

(Its, in that instance, Anon 08.53, does not need an apostrophe; it's means it is which doesn't make sense in your sentence.)

Anonymous said...

Anon 8.53

How arrogant! Why on earth would you presume people who write and comment on blogs do not work? Something has very clearly touched a very raw nerve!!

Anonymous said...

We could all touch raw nerves if we wanted

Anonymous said...

Blogger = unemployed - now that's a new one. Speaking only for myself I have a full-time job AND a family! I just hope Ian Duncan-Smith doesn't harrass me to get another job because blogging = idleness!

I dread to think where we would be without bloggers in this increasingly undemocratic country.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear!!Someone's cage has been rattled.There is no defence whatsoever for CCC'S conduct.and as for getting a job I am 78 yrs old worked hard and know dodgy dealings when I see it.

nospin said...

Is it know when the council took this advice, before the auditors report or after it?