Saturday, 10 January 2015

Agenda - January meeting

The agenda for next Wednesday''s full council meeting has been published and there is no mention of Mr James' severance or departure, early days perhaps although if you ask me, it is looking less and less likely that the issue will go to full council at all.

With at least two thirds of the chamber apparently rejecting a generous severance package and insisting he simply resigns, it looks like the strong possibility of defeat might persuade Mr James to go quietly, relatively cheaply...and quickly. Wishful thinking perhaps, but to many observers, this whole saga looks remarkably like a mass vote of no confidence (it is not, of course), and is hardly the grand exit he envisioned for himself.

This is all speculation of course and we will have to see what actually transpires, and whether Mr James and his lawyers will put up a fight.

What is on the agenda next week, and it can be read in full here, is a slot for public questions. There are no actual questions, but it is there. This is a commonplace agenda item for most councils but for Carmarthenshire, it's a minor breakthrough.

This is all part of the 'WAO/WLGA effect' which saw the appearance of councillor questions a few months ago. The proof of the pudding will be when someone tries to ask one, the current procedure involves sending your question in writing to the chief executive for vetting, seven days in advance of the meeting.

The last time a member of the public asked a question was in 2005. I gave details of the procedure here, should anyone wish to have a go.

Also on the agenda is an interesting notice on motion from Cllr Emlyn Dole (Plaid) putting forward the concept of a 'paperless system of communication' with all councillors. This is seen by many councils as very much the way forward and, if it runs smoothly, a way of saving a few quid.

In fact, one of the current budget proposals is for councillors' laptops to be be replaced, eventually, with iPads (or similar) and these could be used at all meetings instead of printing and posting swathes of documents.

It would surely help bring the council into the modern world and, essentially, would keep Members up to date with all the latest news...

iPads would allow councillors to keep up to date with council news

It would all take some ironing out and may not be cost effective, but I notice a few already use their own tablets at full council meetings.
Unfortunately, for some Members, a tablet is still just something from the doctor to regulate their bowels or send them to sleep.

Cneifiwr reports that the council by-election for Hengoed ward in Llanelli will be held on the 19th February although no announcement has been made by the council yet. Should be an interesting exercise given the recent result in Trelech and proximity of the general election.

Also, with Labour and Meryl's Independents currently level pegging on 21 seats each, a win for the Indies, should they field a candidate, would give them a one-seat majority over their Labour coalition partners in the chamber... 

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