Tucked away in a report for Scrutiny on Friday is the annual report from the Monitoring Officer, Linda Rees-Jones (mysteriously no longer 'acting'). Included in the report are various Constitutional amendments which have been brought to council, and approved, over the last twelve months.
One of these is "To note that the provision allowing members to grant indemnities to Officers to bring libel proceedings would not be reinstated in the Constitution."
What we have actually had in the Constitution, since February 2014 is this, in its various forms;
It has never been removed, just suspended. I suspect that when Mark and Linda have finished rewriting the constitution and it is presented to council in September the clause will have been airbrushed out, without explanation and especially without admission of wrongdoing. I could be wrong given Mr James' email to Cllr Bill Thomas a few weeks ago, however, we'll assume (and hope) it will finally go.
There has been no need whatsoever for the 'legal position' to be clarified because every man and his dog knows it was illegal in the first place.
As for the actual indemnity granted to Mr James in 2012, that was also illegal but Mr James and whichever cohort of obliging officers and councillors were, and are, currently in his pocket have managed to separate the two - the clause and the actual indemnity.
If the clause is permanently removed it is because it is 'contrary to law', or whatever polite way you want to put it.
As night follows day, this means that, despite the view of Mr James and co, the actual indemnity was also illegal. Or unlawful, as the Wales Audit Office put it.
As far as the council are concerned, the legality of the actual indemnity can only be determined by a court, whatever that's supposed to mean. We may find out one day.
What has happened is that there has been a great deal of constitutional and legal manoeuvring and manipulation to ensure that the chief executive and those responsible have got off scot free.
In the meeting last July (2014) Cllr Emlyn Dole (then in opposition of course) politely soothed Mark James' concerns that the 'suspension' of the clause, and the acceptance of the First Minister's statement the day before damning the actions of the council, would not be retrospective, and would not interfere with the indemnity granted in 2012.
In the event, the Welsh Government opinion was merely 'noted' and the clause suspended. This kept both the external auditor, and more to the point, the chief executive, happy and clinging on to his CBE.
This left the curious situation where the council were agreeing that the clause was illegal but when it was used in practice, it wasn't. Did they not think this was a bit odd and perhaps they'd been shafted?
In fact, the chief executive knew what he was doing was illegal in January 2012, hence the misrepresentation of legal advice to the Executive Board who were too dull to even question it. The unlawful presence of Mr James in the meeting also ensured they toed the line.
The upshot of all this was to save the skin of the chief executive and the usual suspects and avoid any unpleasant confrontation over his publicly funded legal costs. This was not the only issue of course, there was also his tax avoidance pension scam.
Looking back, I still find it quite incredible that not only the chief executive but the head of law and the Executive Board members present at the meeting when the indemnity was granted are still there. The only one who vaguely paid the price was Kevin Madge, who lost his £49,000 per year. This handsome remuneration has now passed seamlessly on to Cllr Dole.
I have spoken to Plaid supporters in my area and there is deep concern and disappointment that Cllr Dole and Co have, it seems, sold their soul to the devil, and Meryl of course.
Bryn Parry-Jones has gone, expensively I know, from Pembrokeshire but Mark James remains, despite the extended rap sheet - and there's only one reason, Mr James has played the lot of them, aside from one or two, like a fiddle, whereas in Pembs Mr Parry-Jones couldn't.
In addition, Mr James is now in the fortunate position, whether by design or coincidence, I couldn't possibly say, of facing no effective opposition to his power...all worked out rather well didn't it Mr James?