Wednesday 13 November 2013

Another controversial debate rejected...

As I have previously reported, the decision to continue the financial bailout of Scarlets Regional Ltd, and the decision to offload parks and sports fields and ratchet up the charges for any which might be left, were made, conveniently, just before the budget cuts were announced and the 'consultation' even began.

These were executive decisions and it is decisions such as these which, according to Plaid AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas, the chief executive is considering removing from council scrutiny.

The Plaid opposition group on the council put forward a Notice of Motion for these two controversial decisions to be discussed at this month's full council (today), it has been rejected and they have issued the statement below. As the opposition group, Plaid direct their criticism towards the Labour/independent administration.

Who is really running the show is another issue of course....

As for the extremely serious issues of the 'unlawful' libel indemnity and pension scandals relating to the chief executive, the promised public debate has been 'postponed' of course (see Friday's post).

Council Running Scared Of Public Debate 
The Labour-Independent regime which runs Carmarthenshire County Council has been accused by Plaid Cymru of “running scared” of debating crucial matters of finance and policy in public. 
Plaid points out that financial decisions relating to the Scarlets Region and the council’s sports grounds were made before the seminar at Llanelli in October, which was supposed to be the beginning of the Budget consultation process. 
“This Labour-led council’s decision to get rid of parks and other sporting facilities, while introducing a massive hike in charges for those that remain, threatens the very future of grassroot sport clubs,” say Plaid Cymru. “At the same time, a crucial decision about dropping interest rates on a multi-million pound loan to Scarlets Regional Ltd, following a three-year freeze on loan repayments, was made by the Executive Board - without referring the matter to Full Council, which approved the loan in the first place in 2007.” 
“The fact that these decision were made by the Executive Board a week before the Seminar to discuss Budget options at the Ffwrnes Theatre, proved that the consultation process is a farce,” said Cllr Peter Hughes-Griffiths, leader of the 28-strong Plaid Cymru opposition group at County Hall. “It makes nonsense of council Leader Kevin Madge’s recent promise about being ‘open and transparent’.”

A Notice of Motion seeking to have these matters discussed openly by all members in Full Council on November 13th has been rejected by the Administration. The Plaid motion read: 
“As the new Financial Charges for Sports Facilities and a new Parc y Scarlets Financial Agreement were decided by the Executive Board on 14th October, in advance of the Ffwrnes Budget Seminar, in advance of any formal discussions and decisions on the 2014-15 Budget and in advance of any relevant Scrutiny Committee recommendations, full Council should be given the opportunity to discuss and decide on the new Financial Charges for Sports Facilities and the changes to the original Parc y Scarlets Financial Agreement.”

“It’s obvious that the Labour-Independent regime are running scared of debating these issues with Plaid Cymru in the public eye,” said Cllr Hughes-Griffiths. “They will do their utmost to ensure that decisions are made by a small group, giving the 74 elected members little or no chance to debate crucial issues in Full Council.  Such behaviour insults the democratic process. We assure the people of Carmarthenshire that Plaid Cymru will apply increased and relentless pressure on the administration to stop conducting the council’s affairs in such a disgraceful manner.” 
          (Source here

Update; This week's South Wales Guardian reports briefly on the 'unlawful' payments and also covers the issue in its opinion piece which says there has been a 'distinct change of mood' in County Hall over the past week as the seriousness of the situation is beginning to sink in......

The SW Guardian has no less than three articles relating to this story, bringing readers as up to date as possible, the Carmarthen Journal has none.

Y Cneifiwr reports that, with regards to the 'unlawful' pension arrangements, it seems the trustees of the Dyfed Pension Fund were not privy to what the council were up to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When are the councillors who are not afraid of this regime going to put in a request for the Welsh Government Minister - Lesley Griffiths to put this rotten lot into 'special measures'.

Unbelievable how bad it has become. The er Welsh Government put Anglesey into 'special measures' but of course that was relative to inconsequential members - here in Carmarthenshire we are talking about top brass - the Chief Executive - and he seems to be very involved with those down in Cardiff Bay. May be that is our problem here. Everyone is running scared.