Wednesday 29 October 2014

Pembrokeshire; Wales Audit Office stops Bryn pay-off - Updated

Final update Friday 17:21 The application for an injunction was unsuccessful. The revised pay-off stands and Parry-Jones is gone, with £280,000.

So now we'll see what happens here in Carmarthenshire. Please sign and share the petition, well over 400 people already have, it only takes a minute, and if you have time, have a read of the comments....


Update 16:32 Court papers have apparently been filed this afternoon by Labour group leader Cllr Paul Miller for an injunction preventing the revised pay-off to Parry-Jones. Cllr Miller believes that the revised deal should have been put before full council for another vote and not decided behind closed doors.

Can you imagine Carmarthenshire's Labour leader Kevin Madge having the bottle to do anything like this?

Update Friday 12:30; Reports are coming in that the severance deal has been reduced, removing the unlawful pension elements, and the auditor has withdrawn his advisory notice. Instead of £332,000 Bryn Parry-Jones now get around £280,000, poor thing.


Update Wednesday - Pembrokeshire Council have issued a statement which suggests that the matter has been resolved;

"Pembrokeshire County Council and its legal advisors have been in discussion with the Wales Audit Office since before the meeting of Council on the 16th October and have reached a consensus on the phrasing of the Settlement Agreement with the Chief Executive.
"This resolves the concerns of the Auditor.
"The Council has been advised by the Wales Audit Office that the Advisory Notice will be withdrawn tomorrow, Thursday, 30th October.
"The Council will not be incurring any unlawful expenditure.

However, Cllr Paul Miller the Pembs Labour group leader says he has spoken to Mr Barratt this evening who stated that the matter is not resolved and the stop notice still stands;

"I have spoken personally to the Deputy Auditor General for Wales, Mr Anthony Barrett, twice this evening and he has confirmed that he has not agreed to remove the stop notice and will not be doing so while the element relating to the Chief Executives pension remains in the agreement.”

There is plenty of discussion over on Pembs Cllr Jacob Williams' blog who has also now spoken to Mr Barrett and confirms that no resolution has been reached but a number of 'options' identified which may require another extraordinary council meeting for approval. 


Pembrokeshire Council are back in the news as the Appointed Auditor, Anthony Barrett issued a formal notice this afternoon to stop the £332,000 pay-off to Bryn Parry Jones, Mr Jones was due to depart on Friday.

Mr Barrett said;

"After careful consideration, I have reason to believe that Pembrokeshire Council will incur unlawful expenditure if it continues its current settlement agreement with the Chief Executive, Bryn Parry-Jones. 
For this reason, I feel I have no option but to exercise my statutory responsibilities and take this unprecedented action."

The auditor considers that the pay-off, as it stands will be unlawful as the settlement took into account the unlawful pension payments, the tax dodging scandal he shared with Carmarthenshire's Mark James. The auditor had also found Mr James' libel indemnity to be unlawful.

Mr Barratt's reasoning for today's decision concerning Pembs is here;

"In taking that decision, the Council are relying on and have taken into account the (unlawful) pay supplements.
The proposed settlement agreement approved by the Council on 16th October 2014 involves the Council unlawfully taking into account the said (unlawful) pay supplements in calculating a payment to the Chief Executive in lieu of 3 months‟ notice, in calculating an enhanced severance payment to the Chief Executive and in making payment of further (unlawful) pay supplements to the
Chief Executive in respect of the period April 2014 to October 2014."
(from Wales Audit Office Statement of Reasons)

The last sentence suggests to me that the council have been making further unlawful payments to Bryn Parry-Jones over the last six months or this could be the compensatory element of the settlement for not paying the pension.

This will be an interesting one to watch. I suspect Carmarthenshire are also keeping a very close eye on it all and recalculating Mark James' pay-off as we speak...

Please keep signing and sharing the petition.

1 comment:

Redhead said...

Wonderful how departing under a cloud from one authority can lead to arriving at another bathed in sunshine.