Sunday 25 September 2016

Council Leisure Centres undervalued by £7.9m....and other audit news

This time last year, the Wales Audit Office highlighted problems with the council's valuation of assets, overstated to the tune of £38m. This included three sports pitches overvalued by £19m. The WAO were so concerned that they considered bringing in their own valuer. It turns out that instead of taking things into their own hands, the WAO met with the council's internal valuers in April 2016 and came to an agreement as to how certain assets should be valued.

Moving forward to this year's audit, the WAO, whilst auditing one of the council's leisure centres found that this agreement hadn't been followed and, for whatever reason, the asset had this time been undervalued. The WAO looked at two more leisure centres and found the same problem. The total understated value for the three centres amounted to £7.9m.

In addition, when the WAO requested evidence to support various valuations of council assets, for example, council owned theatres, "there was a lack of appropriate evidence to support judgements made" and the council valuers had to "recreate file notes to explain the reasons for decisions made".

The significance of all this not only questions whether the council has the appropriate level of insurance for it's assets, but impacts on the Community Asset Transfer programme, are the valuations for our parks, playgrounds and sports pitches, now offloaded, or in the process of being offloaded, to local organisations, correct?

Then there's the plan, well on it's way, to put the entire Leisure department into a trust. The risks of backdoor privatisation are real enough without cock-ups in the valuation process...there lies the rocky road to asset stripping...

The WAO, for four years running, have been critical of the council's grant management procedures and the subject of highly questionable EU property grants, after languishing in the long grass for a couple of years, also seems to have reached a rather strange conclusion.

You may recall, back in 2014, that concerns were raised over 'Meryl's Millions'. As Exec Board Member for Regeneration, Cllr Meryl Gravell rubber stamped several large EU funded grants for speculative property development. These 'meetings' were usually very brief and held behind closed doors. Questions arose over due diligence and at least one of these grants was reported to the WAO by the council's Director of Resources just before he retired.

Cllr Meryl Gravell
To cut a long story short, the council have been bickering with the WAO ever since and the council has refused to accept the WAO audit findings into two of these grants (worth nearly £3m between them) which found "significant issues".

With the council refusing to agree or accept the WAO audit findings, they, the council, decided that the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO) would audit these grants instead, as well as the final closing audits from these property development schemes, the South West Wales Property Development Fund and Adref.

Council documents from earlier this year showed that the WAO were no longer auditing the council's EU grants at all. It is not clear whether this was a result of a falling out, or if it was an unconnected decision.

The council's relationship with the WAO has been up and down to say the least and the chief executive's contempt for the organisation, and any other regulatory organisation for that matter, is clear.

Earlier this year, Plaid leader Emlyn Dole, on behalf of Mr James, questioned the qualifications of the appointed auditor who made such a mountain out of those darned illegal payments...the WAO gave, pretty much. a two word answer, the second being 'off'.
Cllr Dole and the Plaid group once made a mountain of it all themselves, but now, as we know, the price of power in Carmarthenshire is collective amnesia.

As WEFO is the EU grant funding body, it is part of the system, rather than the supposed 'protector of the public purse', and it is not perhaps in their best interests to uncover cans of European grant worms.
Unsurprisingly, WEFO found that aside from a few minor tweaks, there was nothing wrong.

Of course the subject of EU grants might become a moot point before long, but with failures over the Coastal Social Care grants, the Supporting People grants, the myriad of issues over Pembrey Country Park, unlawful payments etc, Carmarthenshire Council's audits should not only be entirely independent, but carried out by forensic experts.


Update 27th September; The documents relating to Property Development grants are shrouded in mystery and followers of Pembrokeshire blogger (and councillor) Old Grumpy will know he has gone to some lengths to unearth the details of some of these grants in Pembs, which were all actually administered by Carmarthenshire Council.

In his latest post, it seems that Carmarthenshire Council put the brakes on a visit by him and a Pembs Council audit officer to examine (Pembs) documents in County Hall, Carmarthen. As he says, if he were a conspiracy theorist, he might think they had something to hide.

Update 29th September - For more on this decidedly whiffy grant business, here's Cneifiwr's latest post; Something nasty in the woodshed


Head of legal, Linda Rees Jones has been mulling over a request from the Audit Committee for the Chair to attend, just as an observer, the officers' Grants Panel. This request arose following the long running grant management failures identified by the WAO.

After nearly two years of mulling, (to be fair perhaps she's been busy attending to her boss's legal whims) she has decided that constitutionally this is completely impossible...which is strange as usually the constitution can be interpreted in so many different ways...ah but clearly, this is only when it suits...

Friday 23 September 2016

Police Complaints logged

My challenge to the Police Information Notice, or 'harassment warning', (see The police visit Caebrwyn, and Challenging the harassment warning) and my complaints about the police investigation itself, are now logged with the Professional Standards department of Dyfed Powys Police, as below;

1. Lack of fairness and impartiality; 
Mrs Thompson is making a complaint in relation to a police investigation involving the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council. The Complainant states that she writes a blog which is critical of Carmarthenshire County Council and its decision makers as she believes these decisions benefit from further public scrutiny. 
This has resulted in the Complainant receiving a Police Information Notice (PIN). 
Mrs Thompson is unhappy at receiving the PIN and feels that this action has been taken by Dyfed Powys Police in order to prevent her from legitimately scrutinising the decisions and actions of the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council. 
2. Lack of fairness and impartiality; 
Mrs Thompson feels the investigation should have been transferred to another force due to a conflict of interest. To support this Mrs Thompson refers to a historical investigation against the Chief Executive, which was referred to Gloucestershire Constabulary due to the close working relationship between Dyfed Powys Police and Carmarthenshire County Council. 
3. Other neglect or failure in duty; 
Mrs Thompson is unhappy with the length of time taken to investigate. She feels the complaints made against her by the Chief Executive failed to meet the evidential test for criminal proceedings, and this should have been identified by the police earlier.

The logged complaint above does not reflect the point I made in my letter in that the course of conduct complained of by Mr James does not constitute harassment. Nor does it reflect my request for the PIN to be revoked and removed from the Police National Computer.

Therefore I will be corresponding further with the police, and I will take it all the way if necessary.

*  *  *

By way of an update to the decision by Mark James and the Council to pursue me for £190,390 in legal costs, the matter has now been transferred to Carmarthen County Court.

An Interim Charging Order was placed on my home earlier this year. Naturally, I objected to this charge being made Final and a judge in Manchester (where these things are now dealt with), has transferred this final decision to Carmarthen. I will find out within the next couple of weeks (after another decision by another judge) whether I will be allowed a court hearing.
I certainly hope so, as I have much to say...

With regards to Mr James' damages, (for which he also has a Charging Order) arising from his illegally funded counterclaim, I'm still waiting to see if he's accepted my offer of £1 a week, made at Carmarthen County Court at the end of July.
Seems to be taking a while...

News in care, schools and more

As mentioned previously, the council has decided to buy the Guildhall building in Carmarthen for £250,000. Despite the state of disrepair, and unknown refurbishment costs to this listed building it is indeed a historic feature of the town centre. However it came as something of a surprise last Monday to discover that our Plaid Cymru led Executive Board had used money from the social care budget to buy it.

According to a recent report on the capital budget, 'savings' on the construction of the new Extra Care home in Carmarthen left a surplus of £232,000. Without so much as a whisper to the rest of the councillors, this cash was used to buy the Guildhall.

The current year position on the social care revenue budget is an overspend of over £800,000. Now, money for capital projects is not supposed to used to support the revenue budget but there is no reason why 'savings' on the capital budget can't be used?
According to a recent report from the director of social care the ongoing cuts, with plenty more to come, are proving to be extremely challenging and the demand described as "relentless".
To take any money from the social care budget, capital or revenue, is simply wrong.

Although the Carmarthen and Ammanford Extra Care schemes are complete, there seems to be some delay over the same development promised for Llanelli. You may recall that the then Labour/Independent administration managed to conjure up £7m for the scheme to silence those opposing the closure of the council run care homes.
It's all gone a bit quiet but rumour has it that this £7m could now be funnelled into the ARCH Wellness village, with its private health care, luxury spa and business conference suites....

A saving, or 'slippage' of £400,000 was also made on the new Ammanford Extra Care home (let's hope no corners were cut)...the mind boggles where that will go. A life size bronze statue of the chief executive adorning the grand portico of the Guildhall?

Still on the subject of social care, the council are still ruminating over outsourcing the service by forming an arms length company, a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) with particular thought to the remaining in-house home care services.
The reason why part of this service has been kept in house up until now, was due to the difficulties in persuading the private providers to cover the rural areas of the county, it's clearly not financially attractive nor profitable, in the business sense. If the current plans for back door privatisation go ahead then the same financial issues will apply and elderly and vulnerable folk in rural areas are likely to suffer.

Moving on to education, it seems that the new £23m, or £30m (depending where you read it) Bro Dinefwr super school on the Ffairfach swamp is having a few issues, I daresay the council would call it 'teething problems'. Several people have now told me that despite the best efforts of staff, long queues have resulted in pupils not having time to eat their dinner and there are also rumours of the need for portakabins for extra space.
It seems that the infrastructure of this state of the art school is insufficient to cope with the numbers. A multi million pound design fault perhaps. In addition, sandbags and pumps are also on hand should there be a shower of rain.

The issue of lengthy bus journeys for pupils from north Carmarthenshire has often been repeated in relation to the siting of the new school, and of course with the closure of village schools even our four year olds will became very familiar with the joys of bus travel. Let's just hope we don't get any snow this winter...

Local alarm bells rang earlier this year when Pickfords removal vans arrived at Pantycelyn to move the old furniture down to Ffairfach. Another shiny new school, some said, without enough money to run it. I needn't remind you that £12m is due to be slashed from the school budgets over the next two years.

Moving on, I must mention the increasingly slow publication of minutes from scrutiny meetings. Whatever the reason, and there is no such problem with the publication of press releases of course,
the council's state of the art website seems to be more cumbersome and difficult to negotiate than ever. For example, after two months, the minutes from the last Audit Committee were finally published. As a blogger, or an anorak, I rushed to see how the 'discussion' panned out on the latest draft Statement of Accounts. Ah, there was no 'discussion', it turned out that all queries had been ironed out in unminuted 'briefing' sessions earlier that week. I should've guessed.

Still on the matter of minutes, the new-fangled statutory Public Service Board, which replaces, in name, the unstatutory Local Service Board (representatives of local bodies, council, colleges, health board, police, etc which discusses strategies,,) also has an exiting new website called 'theCarmarthenshirewewant'.

One section screams 'GET INVOLVED' and includes a list of meetings since May, and there have now been three. The Agendas don't include links to any of the reports and no minutes have been published for the meetings.
With a nice friendly feedback form at the bottom of the page the temptation to GET INVOLVED got the better of me and I enquired about this lack of transparency. Over a week later I had a response, from the council, which informed me that 'The discussion on this has not yet concluded.  I will be speaking again to the Chair of the PSB and will get back to you as soon as possible."

Before I go a quick heads up for next week's full council meeting. It seems that Director of Children's Services and Education, and grim reaper of our village schools, Mr Rob Sully, handed in his resignation at the end of July. As this post attracts a salary of £135,000 per year (inclusive of pension contributions) there is a requirement to advertise the post nationally, unlike some of the more cosy arrangements which usually take place in County Hall.

Also featuring on the agenda are a couple of questions about the latest council led works at Parc Howard, Llanelli. Labour opposition leader (I use the word 'opposition' loosely) Cllr Jeff Edmunds is asking council leader Emlyn Dole about the procurement and tendering process, suggesting that, in fact, there was no proper procurement and tendering. Mind you, it needs to be remembered that it was the Labour and Independents, well, Meryl, who kicked off the whole business of selling off the family silver in the first place.

Cllr Edmunds is also enquiring about the lack of planning permission for the works and whether retrospective approval will have to be sought, still, I'm sure the Rev 'two barns' Dole will be prepared with an answer, having become something of an expert on retrospective planning himself....

Update 3rd October;
I'm at a bit of a loss for words about Wednesday's (28th Sept) full council meeting, which is not like me, but anyone who has a spare three hours to waste to watch it might understand. It's three hours of your life you'll never get back though.

I'll be brief, the two main groups, Labour and Plaid Cymru spent most of the time grandstanding, and bickering over Parc Howard, Llanelli. This was interspersed with some ridiculous procedural challenges, from both sides. Add to this the spectacle of the Chair who didn't appear to be entirely sure where he was, and the chief executive pontificating from the driving seat throughout the entire three hours, and you get the picture. Business as usual.
And those hoping for a glimmer of a mention of anywhere north of Llanelli were set for disappointment.

I'm all for healthy debate but clearly the recent thrills of the Cilycwm by-election was focusing party political minds on next May. And as for the Cilycwm ward itself, I suspect that like Brigadoon, it will once again disappear into the mist.

Then you had the chief Finance Officer saying, in response to a question from Cllr Caiach, that it didn't really matter if the interests rates went up on the council's massive £376m debt as their assets were £1.3bn. So presumably council houses, roads, schools etc are easily realised should the worst happen, Ebay here we come...

The next full council meeting is on the 12th October. Can't wait.

Cilycwm by-election result

The results from the Cilycwm by-election were;

Dafydd Tomos - Plaid Cymru - 201
Arwel Davies - Independent - 151
Maria Carroll - Labour - 123
Matthew Paul - Independent - 106
Jacqui Thompson - People First - 64
Catherine Nakielny - Libdem - 62
Stephen Holmes - Conservative - 15

Turnout was 61%

As you can see Plaid Cymru took the seat but with such a wide field it was always a difficult one to predict. Well done all.

Many thanks to Sian Caiach and People First, and all who have supported me from the Cilycwm ward, and from everywhere's been a very interesting few weeks!

And there's always next May... 

Monday 12 September 2016

Cilycwm by-election - Election statements

Sunday 18th September - just a reminder to voters, the by-election is on Thursday (22nd September), the polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm, the count will be in Llanwrda Village Hall and the result will be declared that night. Please #votejacqui!

* * *

With ten days to go until polling day here in the Cilycwm ward, election statements from myself and county councillor Sian Caiach are published below. The ward covers the communities of Llanwrda, Llansadwrn, Cilycwm, Siloh, Porthyrhyd, parts of Llandadog and Rhandirmwyn, and everywhere in between.
The count will be held at Llanwrda Village Hall on the 22nd September and with no less than seven candidates, it promises to be an interesting night.

Statement from County councillor Sian Caiach;
"Carmarthenshire County Council desperately needs new Councillors like Jacqui Thompson who represent the people rather than themselves or party interests. This Council has been shamed by Jacqui, as she has exposed waste,secrecy, paranoia and wrong doing in this body. Her efforts have been rewarded by the respect of many outside the Council but hostility and persecution by all of the 3 party political groups within Carmarthenshire council, Plaid, Labour and the Affiliated Independents.

They have all condemned her for her criticism as they have all been involved at one time or another in the unpopular and questionable decisions and service cuts which hurt the public but leave the local wealthy and political elites without inconvenience and sometimes personally enriched.

We need people like Jacqui, fearless champions  of ordinary folk, willing to speak out and not allow local issues to be dictated by the wealthy and powerful. The people must take back control from these nodding donkey Councillors who seem to care far too little for the people who elect them and far too much for the rich and powerful.

People First/Gwerin Gyntaf was formed  in Carmarthenshire in response to the lack of accountability, openness, integrity and honesty in the County Council. We believe in true representative democracy where the people are consulted and control their representatives, rather than Councillors making important decisions without a thought to the people affected. Jacqui will certainly put in the time and effort to help change this Council for the better. We are very proud to support her."

Statement from me, Jacqui Thompson
"I am delighted to be a candidate and to have the chance to represent all the communities within the Cilycwm ward. There is no doubt that this ward has had a raw deal from the County Council, from closing the last primary schools this year, to closing the local secondary school last year. If elected I would ensure that we have our fair share of money and resources, I won't sit back and watch it being funneled into white elephants and vanity projects at the expense of our essential local amenities and those most in need.

I'd be a wake up call to the county council, my reputation proves that I will not be silenced, and will make sure that all the interests and concerns of this entire community, are heard, with passion, very loud and clear!"

This week's article in the Carmarthen Journal

A question time event has been arranged for this Wednesday, 14th September at Llanwrda Village Hall, starting at 6pm. I understand that all the candidates will be attending.

Update 15th September; Five out of the seven candidates attended the hustings, an Independent and the Plaid Cymru candidate did not. There was a good turn out, good questions and plenty of discussion. It's heartening to see that this by-election has prompted considerable local interest which bodes well for a big change across the county council next May.

Text from 2nd leaflet (16th September)
Please also see my earlier post - A few thoughts on the Cilycwm by-election 

Friday 9 September 2016

Keeping close to the nest

As regular readers will recall, rather than the lid being publicly blown open earlier this year, an internal audit report was commissioned which exposed serious flaws in the management of Pembrey Country Park. The report was presented to councillors as a two page summary with no details as to how exactly the mess, ranging from financial irregularities to tender rigging, arose in the first place.

Calls for the damning findings to be investigated by the police were rejected and it seems this scandal, which had been ongoing for a number of years, is still being investigated and kept 'in house'. No surprises there.

However, further evidence emerged in June this year, reported by the Herald, which suggested that there had been attempts by senior officers, at the time, to cover-up wrongdoing. This evidence included transcripts of recorded conversations, and one senior officer is heard demanding to know what information is held by a third party, adding "For f**** sake don't go to the police".

The report stated that it had been commissioned following the departure of the previous Director of Regeneration and Leisure in 2015 who's responsibility covered, amongst other things, Country Parks.

That Director Of Regeneration and Leisure was Mr Dave Gilbert OBE, who was also deputy chief executive and right hand man for Mr Mark James CBE, standing in for him when the latter was under criminal investigation by the police in 2014. The Executive Board Member with the equivalent portfolio at the time was Cllr Meryl Gravell, OBE

Mr Gilbert then became a Ministerial adviser to the Swansea Bay City Region Board, of which Cllr Gravell is a member. The Board, and particularly Meryl, is currently 'very excited' about the Council led (by 'council' I mean Meryl and Mark of course) project to funnel scarce resources into private health care and a luxury spa in Delta Lakes, Llanelli, the 'Wellness Village'.

However that's by-the-by, I was most interested, surprised even, to see that back in January this year, the former Director, Mr Gilbert, had been appointed as a non-executive director of Cwm Environmental Ltd, which manages the council's recycling and waste facilities, a service which is shortly to come up for tender.

Incidentally recent whispers have been heard of financial irregularities and senior sackings over waste management agreements in the council's environment department, including one linked to the Cwm Environmental site at Nantycaws. Again it seems that this matter will not go to the police as, it has also been whispered, the council itself has been a little over enthusiastic with the categories of waste it has been dumping...

Anyway, Cwm Environmental, you may be aware, manages these facilities as an arms-length company, and is wholly owned by the council, and whilst the role of non-executive director doesn't command a massive salary, it can certainly attract a very decent allowance.

It seems that sometimes, retiring senior officers are reluctant to stray far from the nest.

Sunday 4 September 2016

A few thoughts on the Cilycwm by-election

Update 7th September; Carmarthen Journal;
Blogger Jacqui Thompson to fight election for Carmarthenshire councillor seat 

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What prompts and encourages someone to stand as councillor? It is, or it should be, a desire to embark on public service and become a voice for the people you represent. It is this, the experience I have gained and the observations I have made which bring me to this point today. I conclude, from my observations over seven years, that this area of north Carmarthenshire has had a raw deal from the County council. It has largely been ignored. There are also wider issues, most notably the way the county council has, and is being run, which still needs to be addressed.

So where do I start. How about our councillors, the democratic wing of the empire. Let's go local, as it's by-election time. What happened to our local primary schools, to Pantycelyn secondary school? I have not spoken to a single soul who wanted these to close. Senior council officers had a plan though, and nothing was going to get in the way, least of all public opinion. The public believed that their local county councillors would champion their cause, instead there was a deafening silence. No passion, no threatened resignations if the school closed, no presenting public petitions, no bugger all in fact. And worse still, no one was the least bit surprised.

Let's go back further and consider the Parc y Scarlets fiasco. The same, a bit of flannel from the chief executive and like nodding dogs, the councillors ensured that the taxpayer became saddled with a vanity project which would never break even, let alone make a profit. The fact that the auditors had been called in to Mr James' previous stadium vision, in Boston, seemed to pass everyone by. And as for our local sports facilities, playgrounds and parks, they're being offloaded, charges increased and failing that, potentially sold off to developers.

I say everyone, that's not quite true, over the years there have been persistent, vocal campaigners, one or two councillors, most notably Cllr Caiach, of course. From protesting over the closure of care homes to trying to bring some element of scrutiny to the more barking mad decisions, ombudsman and audit reports, how have they all fared? Badly. Smear and division is the preferred tactic, supported by whatever puppet executive board is currently courting favour, and whoever can be bought with the promise of a special responsibility allowance.

Critics, not just me, have had their say, most recently it was the former police commissioner, Christopher Salmon who, after four years, reached the conclusion he'd been dealing with a "Sicilian cartel", not a county council, adding "It extracts vast amounts of money from residents which it showers on favourites, hordes property, bullies opponents, co-opts friends and answers to no one, least of all local councillors".The former lay member of the audit committee, Sir David Lewis also observed that the council's internal legal advice was "cavalier at best, incompetent at worst" .

Only yesterday, another candidate for this election, Matthew Paul mentioned the chief executive in the same breath as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, this was published in the Herald, and the Herald itself hasn't minced it's words over the past year.

I have not, therefore, been the only critic of the council and manner in which the chief executive conducts business. One of the most bizarre incidents had to be the #daftarrest episode back in 2011, a perfect example of the misuse of power. Mr James called the police because I was quietly filming a meeting. On his authority I was only released from custody after I signed an agreement not to film any more meetings. I don't know who was more puzzled by the whole business, me or the police. They did contact Mr James some weeks later and told him, in so many words, that they wouldn't do his dirty work again.

But then, back in early April this year, they found themselves in the same position. With, I'm sure, more important things to do, they found themselves having to spend months trawling through some woman's blog. In the end they could do nothing more than give me a letter, which, I am now publicly challenging.

At the moment we're heading for Parc Y Scarlets Mark II, the funnelling of council money (and the already depleted resources of the NHS) into private health care and a luxury spa, the Wellness Thing. In classic style, no one was asked, no one consulted. And by no one, I mean you and me. Shiny plans and exiting artists impressions may pad out the pages of Mr James' CV for when he moves on, I'm sure the Boston Stadium plans impressed Meryl back in 2001, but it'll be a costly CV for the rest of us.

But still, the show rumbles on. The desperately dysfunctional Labour group made the unforgivable error of speaking out against a massive golden handshake for Mr James (there was an election round the corner). Sometime later Plaid mysteriously joined with Meryl and Pam as Labour crumbled. Plaid, up until that moment, had been a fairly vocal opposition, some of them were causing problems for Mr James, what better way of dealing with a problem than by bringing it into the fold, with conditions attached naturally, and in the case of Emlyn Dole, having your memory erased.

The Labour/Independent Group administration, responsible for the whole unlawful payments scandal, a private company having its debts cleared with public money, the mysteries of Meryl's grants, the chief executive's attempts to threaten and control the local press, the dire treatment of whistleblowers, the contempt for regulators, the snooping of emails, the cosy arrangements, and the spin....moved seamlessly into the Plaid Cymru/Independent Group coalition.

Council services from social care to leisure are being outsourced by the back door which will not only remove democratic oversight but will also see amenities which run at a loss, for example the swimming pool in Llandovery, quietly close. Massive cuts to education are on the cards, over £12m over the next two years. The council is in debt to the tune of £376m, (even more than me), and that costs £17.6m a year in interest, £100 per man woman and child in the county, per year. The top rank of senior officials costs £1.2m a year and that's without any legal expenses they may be inclined to incur.

Which all brings me back to the reasons for standing as a candidate. For instance, every penny of public money being poured into the latest addition to the Mark and Meryl Empire is a penny less to spend where it's needed, for example, in this very ward.
Someone, hopefully me, needs to fight our corner. Enough is enough.

I believe I have exposed much that is wrong with our democratic arrangements here and there, and shone a light now and again. As a result of my campaigning, meetings are now being webcast for one thing. I am what it says on the tin, to borrow Council leader Dole's catchphrase. No one, not even council by-election candidates can, or indeed should, promise to perform miracles, they can only offer to do their best and be open about themselves.
Funnily enough Kevin Madge had a catchphrase as well, waking up and smelling the coffee. It must be a Council leader thing, sadly Cllr Dole is wrong, things in County Hall are never quite what they are on the tin and Cllr Madge never really woke up.

As a candidate I am aware that the machine must keep turning, bins must be emptied and our children educated, and the issues I have with the council are by the by, I will sort them out in my own way. However, I feel that the Chamber needs new voices, and sometimes those that decide to play monopoly with your money should be held to account and ensure that everything is being done for the benefit of residents, and no one else, and most of all, if I am elected, for the benefit of residents of my area.
And the one thing I can promise, is that I will do it with passion.

(Later post 12th September 2016: Cilycwm by-election - Election statements