Thursday 14 March 2019

The blog - ten years old today

As ten years is quite a long time to have been writing a blog, I couldn't let the moment pass without a brief comment.

Whether the blog has achieved anything in the way of improving transparency, encouraging democratic engagement or just exposed a dodgy deal or two is for the reader to decide. I think it has, in one way or another. I have also experienced the grim and disturbing view of the interior of a police cell and accumulated court orders of around a quarter of a million quid. C'est la vie.

The council itself, despite, several changes in administration, remains seamlessly under the control of one man, until June of course when we hope for a fresh start and not a clone cultivated in the County Hall laboratory. Whoever takes the poisoned chalice, he or she can't be any worse. There was some hope when Plaid 'took over' in 2015 given their vocal opposition to all that was bad, but, alas, Emlyn slipped easily into Meryl's shoes and, well, er, 'assumed the position'....

The blog has never been critical of the army of council workers, nor the majority of officials who manage services, and not all policies or projects are bad, far from it. And in many respects, Carmarthenshire is no different to any other local authority, trying to provide a good service with a shrinking budget.

The one big difference in Carmarthenshire is that for seventeen years it has been saddled with a psychotic chief executive, who must have thought he'd hit the jackpot when he breezed in from Boston. The thought that, likely as not, he'll breeze back out again with a gold clock rather than the  criminal record he deserves should be on the conscience of councillors, regulators and government alike. It's shameful.

If an ordinary (I loathe to use the word, but you know what I mean) council worker were to have been found to have lied to his employers, and the courts; engaged in secretive extra-curricular activities to the cost and detriment of the organisation; to have committed fraud and stolen cash meant for public services; to have used publicly owned facilities, and information, for his private vendettas; to have had his hands in the till for the benefit of his 'friends', and threatened and bullied anyone who challenged his self-importance, they would have been out on their ear long ago, possibly even locked up.
And god help the 'benefit cheats', named and shamed on the council website for claiming a few grand they shouldn't have. They're unlikely to be awarded a CBE for their actions.

One problem, as we've seen only too well with the ongoing farce in Caerphilly, is the system. The protections given to chief officers make it nigh on impossible to get shot of a bad egg, especially one as adept at scamming the system, stamping out democracy, and deflecting liability as the arrogant Mr James. It needs to change.

I will not be the only one who will be glad to see him go, and hopefully his publicly funded personal defence lawyer/Monitoring Officer, Linda Rees Jones will not be far behind. Unfortunately he has a vested interest in my home, and his monthly 'gutter money' so, for Caebrwyn, his 'retirement' has little significance. There is, as far as I'm concerned, unfinished business, and I will continue to seek justice wherever he ends up.

This blog has tried to track the less salubrious episodes of this council and continues to this day with the unfolding mess that is the Wellness Village and the City Deal. This is yet another scandal which involves the shady Mr James, along with his diabolical use of his own solicitors in the 'review'. The ongoing nonsense over the unlawful libel indemnity clause is another long running case in point, there's no expense spared to defend the indefensible actions of the chief executive.

I hope this blog, whatever your views, has occasionally provided information and shone a light into the dark corners of County Hall and I intend to continue for the foreseeable future. It's taken a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears, and a hefty number of long-winded freedom of information requests.

And as I have also said in previous 'anniversary' posts, I have no hesitation in repeating every word of this blog, from slush funds to Pinocchio and everything in between, it's been the truth, every bloody word.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on 10 years slogging and blogging. I threw in the towel years back sadly due to ill health. May you one day have very little reason to blog (fingers crossed).Let right not might be on your side and I sincerely hope that karma pays a few characters a visit in the not too distant future. Well done Jacqui and thanks for shining a lot of light in some very murky corners.