Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Caerphilly Chief Exec charged with Misconduct in Public Office -updated


...and the latest from Carmarthenshire: Mark James has 'stood down/stepped aside' from his roles in the Welsh Government, see update below.


This blog has been following developments in Caerphilly with considerable interest after its Chief Executive and his deputy were suspended after the Wales Audit Office published reports early in 2013 concerning unlawful payments. They were both arrested in July and have been on bail pending further investigations.
They have now been charged. The Monitoring Officer has also been reported to the police.

The WAO report, by auditor Anthony Barrett, found that pay rises for senior staff including the Chief Executive were unlawful as the meeting had not been advertised and the recipients remained in the meeting. The Chief Executive also contributed to the written report.
The auditor and Avon and Somerset Police found additional discrepancies whilst the investigations were ongoing.
More later.

Here's today's article from the Western Mail;

The top two officers of Caerphilly council are to face charges of misconduct in public office.

A third will be reported for the same offence.

Chief executive Michael Anthony O'Sullivan and his deputy, Nigel Barnett, will appear in Bristol Magistrates Court court on April 22.

Also reported for the same offence will be Daniel Perkins, the authority's former monitoring officer.

A statement issued by Avon and Somerset Police said: "Having reviewed the police file, Nicola Haywood, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s South West Complex Casework Unit, felt there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest to charge Michael Anthony O’Sullivan, aged 54, of Merthyr Tydfil; Nigel Barnett, aged 51, of Bargoed in Mid-Glamorgan; and report for summons Daniel Perkins, aged 48, of Brynmawr, Gwent.

All three are due to appear at Bristol Magistrates court on April 22 2014."
(Western Mail


Update 18.35;
Plaid AM Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales) has asked the Welsh Minister for Local Government, Lesley Griffiths whether Mark James has stood down from his various roles in the Welsh Government: 

What work does the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, Mark James, do for the Welsh Government – working groups, panels, committees, advice etc?

Lesley Griffiths: Mark James will be stepping aside from the various roles he performs for the Welsh Government. These include:

Member of the Public Service Leadership Group as regional lead for the Mid and West Wales collaborative service area. 

Member of the 21st Century Schools Programme Board as representative of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives

Chair of the Monmouthshire Education Recovery Board and 

Chair of the Welsh Government’s Central Services Corporate Governance Committee.


Meanwhile, back in Carmarthenshire, the Plaid Cymru group have released this statement announcing the Motions of No Confidence in Kevin Madge, Meryl Gravell (former leader) and Pam Palmer (deputy leader). The motions will be presented to council at the Extraordinary meeting on the 27th February;
At next week’s Extraordinary Meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council (Thurs. 27 Feb) to discuss a damning Wales Audit Office report, the Plaid Cymru opposition group will present a motion of no confidence in three senior councillors. 
The issue is already the subject of a police inquiry and the council’s Chief Executive has agreed to ‘stand aside’ pending its outcome. 
Following a meeting last night of the 28-strong Plaid group on the county council, their leader Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, made this statement. 
"It’s unbelievable that Chief Executive Mark James was not immediately suspended once the police inquiry was announced. Council Leader Kevin Madge dithered and dallied until the situation became totally untenable. Even then, we only had a ‘compromise’ agreement.  
We still don’t know the conditions relating to Mr James’ ‘standing aside’.  The press have been told by the council that Mr James remains on full pay, although they’ve told us – as elected members - nothing.That said, the important thing is that the Chief Executive is out of the frame until this issue is resolved. 
Plaid Cymru will fiercely resist any attempt at interference in a democratic debate and vote on this most important issue at next week’s extraordinary meeting to discuss the Wales Audit Office report.  
We will not be dictated to by London QC Timothy Kerr, who, when he appeared in Pembrokeshire council chamber last week, acted as monitoring officer for the Executive Board by naming councillors he believed should not take part in the debate due to having made allegedly prejudicial comments in the press.  
We maintain it is Mr Kerr who should not be allowed to participate in any debate. Indeed, he need not come to Carmarthen at all. Although we’ve not been given the actual sum, it’s believed that Mr Kerr will be paid at least £6,000 for attending the meeting on the 27th to give advice.  
Plaid believes this is an irresponsible and unnecessary waste of taxpayers’ money. The Executive Board are throwing good money after bad in their stubborn defence of the indefensible, being the Welsh Auditor’s ruling that they acted unlawfully in two matters. 
Their arrogant attitude compounds the original ‘offence’ and shows why council Leader Kevin Madge should stand down.  
At the council meeting on the 27th Plaid will present a Notice of Motion of no confidence in Cllr Madge, past Leader Cllr Meryl Gravell and present deputy Leader Cllr. Pam Palmer on the grounds that all three were members of the Executive Board that made the decisions deemed ‘unlawful’ by the WAO."


Anonymous said...

Oh, happy days!

Have we ever got to the bottom of who exactly put up the idea of the pension swap? It woyld be VERY enlightening to know.

Anonymous said...

It is scandalous that even more public money is being used to bring a barrister to Carmarthen unnecessarily. I have no doubt there will be a public outcry if money continues to be wasted in this way.

caebrwyn said...

Thank you for the anatomically descriptive but sadly unprintable comments referring to how persons in Carmarthenshire might be viewing today's developments in Caerphilly...

Anonymous said...

An interesting development in the case of Mr Anthony o'sullivan, you would have though he would know the difference between right and wrong !

The sad thing is these pair have cost the tax payers of Caerphilly CBC some £250k being on gardening leave for a year, I bet they have a lovely lawn......