Monday 22 April 2019

Private Eye again...and a Brown Nose Award, First Class, with updates

Update 1st May;

The Council's Director of Regeneration and Policy, Wendy Walters has been promoted and appointed as the new chief executive. No surprise there.
Ms Walters was formerly one of two £100k pa Assistant Chief Executives, when one of the posts was axed in a restructuring exercise in 2017, Mr James decided to create a new Directorship, Regeneration and Policy. The £120k job was advertised as it had to be by law, but the ad disappeared a couple of days later and Ms Walters was appointed to the post.
Regime change? I think not.

Update 28th April;

And from this week's Carmarthenshire Herald.....:-)

Click to read. Link to Companies House here.

*   *   *   *   *

The Rotten Boroughs column in the current issue of Private Eye features Mark James of Carmarthenshire Council fame yet again. It follows an oozing 'tribute' to the departing Mr James, penned by his former press officer and which featured recently in a local publication. 
It clearly amused the Eye:-)

The 'tribute' was, as the Eye website explains, " cloying it will make Eye readers reach for the sick bucket".

Here's the Rotten Boroughs piece;

With the forthcoming retirement, I thought a brief summary of some previous mentions in the esteemed Rotten Boroughs column would be appropriate, and to serve as a reminder of just how thoroughly Mark James has, in the words of the Eye, "trashed Carmarthenshire Council's reputation". 

All recorded for posterity on this blog;

After featuring the '#daftarrest' incident in Rotten Boroughs in June 2011, the council's notoriety was beginning to grow and by December they were awarded the runner up prize for Legal Bullies of the Year. In January 2012 the Eye covered, with some amusement, the CBE awarded to Mark James. 

In 2011, with 'Devil's Work' and again in 2012 with 'Let us Pray' the council had again caught the attention of the Eye with their generosity towards some local evangelicals with some dodgy connections. In August 2012, the shocking blackmail of a local paper saw the council back in the column and in October the council press office again featured in the Eye after failing to carry out a simple check on google. 

This all led to more Rotten Borough honours at the end of the year, with the PR Plonkers and the Hellfire Awards, no less, and with our own chief executive apparently a devout evangelical christian himself, the latter must have been especially touching. 

The Wales Audit Office and the unlawful payments were closely followed by the Eye and naturally made the Rotten Borough columns in 2013 and 2014 with the libel indemnity and the pension tax avoidance. The latter was the scam our devout Mr James also shared with the former CEO of Pembs. 

The highest accolade came in 2016 with Mark James scooping the coveted Rotten Borough's Shit of the Year Award, closely followed in March 2017, after the order for sale court hearing, with the equally memorable 'In the Gutter' piece.

Emlyn Dole made his first appearance in March 2017 with his barns and was back, as second fiddle to Mr James, in 'Shit storm', over the secretive nonsense over the libel indemnity CRWG meeting held last July.

The Wellness scandal and Mr James' retirement hasn't been missed by the Eye either, featuring in the Rotten Boroughs column in December, 'Tender spot', January 'Down the pan'  and 'Shit happens' in February.

And, as above, in April.

Whilst searching google for the purposes of this post, I landed on this parliamentary record from Hansard from March 2014. It was a scathing and indeed, a truthful attack by Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards on the "ruling cabal of senior officials" and their "political wing", the then Labour/Ind Executive Board. 

He also says, "Given the number of mentions that Carmarthenshire has had in the Private Eye “Rotten Boroughs” column, one might think that the executive board members would have got the message."

Unfortunately, the Plaid 'run' Exec Board, hasn't got the message either. 

As this blog has reported, Emlyn Dole has made sure that he and the Board have remained the chief executive's dutiful rubber stamp. And as I have said, Mr James will leave a toxic legacy when he retires, one which will be difficult to break, particularly if the next incumbent is a carefully prepared clone....


Anonymous said...

This most highly contraversial and now infamous council under a despots seventeen year rule has deserved it's bad reputation and has been proven to be everything a corrupt organisation to be;
undemocratic, dysfunctional, secretive, closed, where officers and councillors alike are controlled to the point of being unable to carry out their own statutory requirements/duties, where codes of conduct should be mandatory but treated with utter contempt by the now disgraced Mark James.

The inhouse candidates on the shortlist for the now vacant CEOs position have all adopted this shameful culture created by Mark James, which suggests they didn't disagree with it. They have allowed this regime to flourish and go unchecked for years. In the real world they should never be considered for this post if a culture change is desired by all those who believe one is needed. God knows it is! It should go to a complete outsider who has had no connections with this now disgraced council, but of course we all know that the other two disgraceful individuals, the oh so pious Rev Dole and Legal Linda, who have much to lose if there was a culture change won't want that, will they?

Anonymous said...

I anticipated yet another appearance. I wonder if Private Eye will do a pull out 'Souvenir Special Supplement' when 'Himself' departs? I think they should. Let's face it,they have more than enough material on CCC et al to do one now.

Anonymous said...

Adam Price Plaid Cymru is ambitious for wales - greater prosperity etc.

If you look however through the telescope the wrong way you can see what a dominant Plaid Cymru might look like and thats in Carmarthenshire where all levels are controlled by Plaid Cymru at MP, Am and Council control

At Council level is not a very appetising scene with what is going on regarding Mark James and the shambles around regeneration and the Swansea City deal

If the Council under Plaid vote in one of the internal candidates into the CEO position after all what has gone on before there is no hope for envisaging how Plaid would run Wales as they will be shown as being weak and not up to making big decisions

caebrwyn said...

I see, from Companies House that Mr James has lost no time in carving a path to the lucrative world of consultancy, along with Mrs James. I wonder how long it'll be before the council employ the services of Ffynnon Consulting Ltd !
The company description is "Management consultancy activities other than financial management" and its probably just as well it excludes the latter...The Brighton address, by the way, is that of a fellow director, a firm of accountants, from one of his undeclared Cardiff business interests .

Anonymous said...

I would have thought he could have got himself an honorary economics degree from UWTSD and by now be applying for the governor of the Bank of England job as sideline.

Anonymous said...

Once one of his lackeys gets appointed as the new CEO he will be handed contracts to consult on the management of the Council and get paid for it

Perhaps he will also offer his services to the new Director to be appointed for the Swansea City deal

Redhead said...

The trouble with councils run under despots is that "ruling" councillors are damaged and broken and likely to choose the same kind of person again. Not unlike battered or abused children later marrying battering or abusing spouses - it's what they know. And they live in hope that, this time, they can make it right. The decision should be taken out of councillors' hands - maybe a People's Vote!

Anonymous said...

Ffynnon Consulting Ltd – specialist advisors to Sicilian cartels.

Redhead said...

I don't understand - the office for this consultancy company seems to be in a small house in a rather ordinary street - surely there is a gold-plated (or even gold) mansion somewhere?

caebrwyn said...

@Redhead With an interest in a residential site for the Local Development Plan, Mr James' gold mansion could be on its way....! Meanwhile, the registered office appears to be a large firm of accountants in Brighton...see also my comment 24th April...

Anonymous said...

God help us all if one of the present employees of CCC is appointed - it will be "out of the fire and into the furnace" as they weill, no doubt, follow "his master's voice" I suppose we ought to be thankful that "Loopy Linda" hasn't thrown her hat into the ring!
Out of the frying pan and into the fire for us all - and our useless,spineless and useless gutless councillors are so stupid and blind they will fall for it.

caebrwyn said...

Thanks for your comment this evening. The business you've mentioned, with the registered office in a house in Llandybie has a very similar name, but appears to be unconnected. Check out the link I put in my comment on the 24th to Companies House, which should take you to the right one.

caebrwyn said...

Anon 17:33
Well, we should find out who the lucky candidate is tomorrow afternoon. Full council meets at 2pm.

DDD said...

So what is this Wendy woman going to do to sort out the mess and corruption of CCC?

m1books said...

Very little probably. She has been schooled and guided into the same mould. Were there really no external candidates? - probably not. Who would want to inherit such a toxic culture to sort out. As a local councillor I despair and am bitterly disappointed. Hoping for a more dynamic, innovative approach to local politics. Sadly it would appear probably now not to be.

Anonymous said...

MJ must be cock-a-hoop with joy at this appointment which has been in the offering for many years

WW cannot clear up the mess of Carmarthenshire and the Swansea city deal as she is part of the problem

MJ will have a few weeks now to put in a plan for WW to follow for the next few years

There will be no change in direction and WW will now have to come out of the shadows as the CEO is a prominent role no more hiding behind MJ

At least Plaid will be happy as WW writes, reads and speaks Welsh - thats a positive I suppose

Watch this space its going to be a rough ride

Anonymous said...

Wendy Walters has been groomed for this position over the past few years. Mentored by her previous Director, Dave Gilbert and given the seal of approval by Mark James. This deal was done and dusted a long time ago. The other three, including poor Jake Morgan (did he ever think he was in the running) were only there to make it look like a competition in the first place.
I'm ashamed of this County and it's shoddy Councillors. But most of all, having been a Plaid Cymru voter in the past, I'm almost ashamed of being Welsh.
Well done CCC.

Anonymous said...

the shambles of the management of the Swansea city deal by MJ and WW will give you a clear indication of their style of control or lack of it

because of this Carmarthenshire will be isolated from the other councils for the near future especially as WW will now be CEO and is seen as the problem

there is no trust as you can see by the comments made by the CEO's of Swansea and NPT - they will not be impressed by this appointment

same old same old - shambles as has been the watch word for the regeneration function of Carmarthenshire for years started as mentioned above by Dave Gilbert - lets hope he does now appear on the scene

when are the next local elections cannot wait !

caebrwyn said...

Anon 06:06
Some like to stay close to the nest. As for deputy CEO Dave Gilbert, he retired immediately before the Pembrey Country Park scandal and the accusations of officer cover-up erupted...then became an adviser to the City Deal board, then a director of the council owned Cwm Environmental and is now also a director of the new council's arms-length housing company, Cartrefi Croeso.

caebrwyn said...

This was the Carmarthenshire Herald's comment on the crowning of the heir apparent:
'The appointment of an internal candidate, particularly one who has worked so closely with her predecessor, suggests there will be no change in administrative direction for the authority. It will, however, take Ms Walters some time to detoxify the Council’s brand following the calamitous last few years of Mr James’ period in charge, during which it lurched from one public relations disaster to another. In addition, there will be significant pressure to move forward swiftly with ensuring the Council moves towards fulfilling the promise to be the most open and transparent in Wales.
In selecting a ‘continuity candidate’, councillors appear to have indicated that what they most want is, however, more of the same.'

Anonymous said...

As they say - plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose ... How long is this nightmare going to last?

Anonymous said...

With the dream team Meryl Gravell Mark James and Dave Gilbert moving on for various reasons such as avoiding scandals or cashing in on pensions and looking for nice earners in retirement such as directorships

It must be nice to have a safe pair of hands appointed to be the next CEO one that you have nurtured over the years to keep you in directorships and watch your back

A new outsider CEO would have no such commitment and might easily have ended these positions

I think they call it succession planning - does not help us the taxpayer though

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. There was no 'outsider' anyway, and in more sense than one. I'm reliably informed that the external candidate is a former employee.
Cover all bases boys!

Anonymous said...

This was mentioned today on the bbc Radio Cymru bulletin, we won't hear anymore about it now as we BBC cymru Wales does not have a credible current affairs or news dept anymore