Thursday 27 March 2014

Mark James should be suspended, say MP and AM

As I reported in yesterday's post, ('The Returning Officer question...and another descent into farce'), Plaid Cymru politicians Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM requested urgent ministerial intervention over Mark James' role as Returning Officer in the Commons and the Senedd yesterday.

In strong statements issued to the South Wales Guardian, they are asking the council leadership to formally suspend Mr James immediately, and explain why this wasn't done at the start of the police investigation.

If he is still not suspended, they confirm that the Plaid opposition will bring a Motion to full council to remove him from electoral duties as Returning Officer;

“....E-mail correspondence shown to me suggests the Labour-Independent leadership of Carmarthenshire council has intentionally not suspended the chief executive in order to allow him to continue in his electoral officer role," said Mr Edwards. 
“This contradicts the forceful position taken by a Labour AM who has called for the chief executive of neighbouring Pembrokeshire Council – also the subject of a police investigation – to be removed as Returning Officer in the upcoming European elections. 
“The complete lack of leadership and the failure to formally suspend the Chief Executive in the first place – for the benefit of both the council and Mr James himself – has left many important questions unanswered. It has highlighted further uncertainties about his departure and has the potential to undermine the integrity of a police investigation. 
“Following my question to the Secretary of State we now know UK Government is monitoring events in Carmarthenshire. This is a serious intervention from the UK Government which should make the council leadership sit up and think about the position it has taken. 
“Carmarthenshire residents deserve an urgent public statement from the Labour leadership of the council about the exact terms and conditions of the chief executive’s departure in which the council leader needs to explain why the chief executive was not formally suspended during this police investigation.” 
Mr Thomas said Ms Griffiths' comments exposed the "farcical decisions" taken by the leadership of Carmarthenshire Council Council "which has brought embarrassment on the county". 
He added: “There is a police investigation underway into two Wales Audit Office reports yet the person at the centre of those reports remains in office. 
"Carmarthenshire residents will understandably believe they have been misled by statements from County Hall which suggested the chief executive is no longer in his post while the police investigation was on-going. 
“It is clear the only way in which public confidence in County Hall and the electoral process can be restored is if the chief executive is formally suspended from his duties or if a motion to the full council is presented to remove the electoral duties from the Chief Executive’s responsibilities. 
“We call on the Labour leadership of the council to take the necessary steps or Plaid Cymru will not hesitate to act in the public interest and bring that motion to the next meeting of the council....”
          (Full article; South Wales Guardian)


Wavell said...

If Mark James is not suspended and has access to Council Officers and the IT system, then why on earth is he sitting at home ?
Either suspend him or let him do his full time job.
This is a real farce making Carmarthenshire the laughing stock of the UK.

Anonymous said...

Wavell rightly says: "This is a real farce making Carmarthenshire the laughing stock of the UK."

And the one laughing the loudest must be Mr James - all the way to the bank. I bet he can't believe his luck - having plenty of time to do his garden whilst continuing to enjoy the lucrative perks of his job. All the while avoiding any stigma that some might attach to a suspension, as he has merely "stood aside".

The HR manual in County Hall must have been totally re-written in the last few weeks. Can anyone show me the chapter entitled "stepping aside"?

Anonymous said...

If the statements are true, where is Glos Police in this? Surely they would be keen to know how he is doing his job without contacting Officers???

Who allowed Mark James to 'step-aside' in the first place and do they actually have the power to allow this? I would be suprised if the council even has a employer procedure for dealing with staff, who just step-aside (and still expect to get paid)?

Anonymous said...

Carmarthenshire County Council Chair should abandon the reading of the pray at the start of meetings and go with an age old Martin Luther King, Jr. Quote:

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal?

Anonymous said...

How that lot have got the nerve to stand there praying at the beginning of a meeting staggers me. They give Christianity a bad name.

Anonymous said...

If that lot cannot accept the situation as it is at present I don't think they ever will.I like the comment left by someone who said that the eye the welsh assembly is keeping on CCC must be a blind one.
Never a truer word.