Mark James chose the momentous occasion of his own self-congratulatory 'farewell' extravaganza at the council AGM last Wednesday to launch an extraordinary attack on the press and 'anonymous bloggers'. Emlyn Dole also took a swipe.
The consensus of opinion, from those who have been in touch, was that the pointed reference to 'bloggers' included myself.
In response, I've sent my comments, which can be read in full below, directly to Mr James.
To; Mr M James, chief executive
cc Emlyn Dole, council leader.
Friday 17th May 16:04
Dear Mr James,
Your remarks about bloggers at Wednesday's AGM require this brief response, which will also be published on my blog.
As there are not many bloggers, or "keyboard warriors" about, and, as you have actually met me, albeit in a courtroom, the consensus of opinion is that you were including me in your comment. As was Emlyn Dole.
I am not anonymous, far from it as you are well aware, and neither do I hide away in dark corners, and I'm quite capable of speaking my name. There is nothing I have said on my blog which I wouldn't say directly to you, or anyone else, in an instant. If you wish to try and argue over anything I've said, then do get in touch.
It was me who called you out and went through a public trial; you hid behind the taxpayer to make your attack, also calling on them to fund your first class travel and upmarket hotels.
You didn't even have the bottle to attend Carmarthen County Court and face me while you attempted to take my home, you hid, and you may have well used taxpayers money to pay for your legal teams. Who knows. The taxpayer had already funded your legal costs once, and your unlawful tax avoidance scam. I wouldn't put anything past you. I represented myself and was quite capable of saying a lot more than my name.
It is you who have hid Mr James, behind your puppet councillors, your legal department, your money, and your junior staff.
Urging councillors, or anyone, to ignore the press and public opinion is appalling, but has been a trademark of your regime, and councillors who have toed the line have been rewarded. Those who have not have been bullied and treated with contempt.
You have withdrawn support for local newspapers for publishing negative stories and enabled, unlawfully, for the council to sue. And more. As the chief executive of a democratically elected council you are truly beneath contempt.
You do not ignore the press or blogs as you claim, you just get someone else to read it all for you, at public expense. If it was all so unimportant then why did you refer to it all in your farewell speech?
You are a thief, a liar, a malicious bully and a coward. Everything I have said on my blog is the truth. I do not have time on my hands, we work hard to ensure we can live and that you get your monthly 'gutter' money so that you do not take our home. The time I do have I spend unearthing the facts and the truth which you are so reluctant to impart. And as I said, I will continue to hold you to account for your actions at this council, retired or not. You have not heard the last from this particular 'anonymous' blogger.
You will certainly be remembered Mr James, not as a man of vision, nor even one with a ridiculous Honour, but as the man who trashed the reputation of Carmarthenshire County Council, and the Rotten Boroughs Shit of the Year.
(Video clip source; BBC's @aledscourfield, for the full version of Mr James' tribute to himself, see the archived webcast)
|Carmarthenshire Herald 24th May|
Ho ho! Get in!
Well said young lady.
Excellent well said and wonder if you will get any response. No breath being held here.
Won't be watching the link. I was sick in my mouth just thinking about it.
Cracking letter, Jacqui. You speak for most of Carmarthenshire - well said.
I've just plucked up the courage to watch the video clip. What an appalling, horrible little man. (And I use the adjective 'little' deliberately - he is the stereotypical short-arse trying to make up for his lack of stature by acting 'big'.)
I suspect that when the investigations currently underway into various questionable goingson related to Carms C C we will know more about how the games were played at the Carmarthenhsire Council Taxpayers expense.
Whether or not Mr James will be forced to return any of the unlawful monies or explain the reasons for the ridiculous Wellness project is anyone's guess.
Why was the Llanegenech Stradey Business Park was purchased by the Council for anonymous gentlemen "known" to officers for £600k? Money which may not have been paid back.
Why was Stradey Park Rugby Ground demolished and built on despite being being a C2 flood plain? why was the Stadium Carpark sold with the Lion's share given to the Scarlets to pay off debts?
Why were a small number of people apparently victimised by bizarre and cruel planning decisions and others treated very differently?
What on earth was the demolition of 2 barns, the supposed caravan burning and the mysterious rubbish dump at the Dole's farm all about?
Carmarthenshire Council has done a lot of strange things during the Mark James Era. Perhaps at least some of the truth will now shed light on the darkness left behind? I will certainly be asking more questions and this time I expect proper and truthful answers.
justice is conspicuous by it's absence in the realm of planning in Carmarthensire. Corruption on the grand scale carried out by few in what may be described as a Westminster system where
the chosen few (the cabinet )have been able to operate to their advantage in camera and any
general debate only occurring on matters sanctioned by the rt dishonorable speake and his
crooked leader of the house. I cherish the hope you will be honoured for your work for the
community that you Jacqui and Patricia Roberts are fully compensated for the wrongs that have
perpettrated and lastly that the whole rotten cabinet have justice meted out to them.
Thank you for the comments.
Sian, we will hope for honest and truthful answers. It is imperative that Mark James is held to account. There are so many 'strange things', some of which I have recently blogged about; then there's his use of council computers for his own private purposes (this is one that particularly rankles as eight junior members of staff were disciplined for doing exactly the same thing), tracking councillors' emails, his treatment of whistleblowers, and being less than truthful to his employers, the press and the courts. Then there's his failure to declare business interests and involvement in the Wellness scandal...the list goes on and on. And, of course, all that you've mentioned in your comment. His 'unlawful payments' scandal cost the authority well over £200k, out of which he directly pocketed over £55k in illegal payments - stolen money which he should repay.
The Carmarthenshire Herald, 23rd May; Blogger hits back at James and Dole
Shame on the Herald for censoring your post.
Ah, that's fine by me! Just glad a newspaper highlighted James' and Dole's "outburst" and their attack on the "efforts made by bloggers and media to hold the County Council to account".
To be honest, I'm surprised other local news outlets didn't have something to say.
I can quite see why the Herald had to edit the letter: the original was pretty strong stuff and the Herald would doubtless have been in trouble if they'd printed it all!
I also understand the newspaper's caution, although, for myself, I'm conscious of the potential need to justify everything I write as true, down to the last comma, which I can, if it ever became necessary!
Over the past fifteen years, I have exposed much corruption in planning Carmarthenshire style.
This is what Jane Davidson had to say years ago when she was Minister for Environment and Sustainability, being very aware of how corrupt planning was destroying my life as I had planned...........
"As planning affects peoples lives and private interests, it can be very contentious. It is therefore important the people of Carmarthenshire understand the system and have confidence in its integrity and transparency, and that officers and members involved in the planning processes avoid impropriety or even the suspicion of impropriety. This approach is endorsed by the committee on Standards in Public Life (Nolan Principles) the Wales Audit Office and the Welsh Local government Association".
I don't need to go into the facts of my case, suffice to say corrupt planning covered up by Mark James every step of the way, has literally destroyed my life. We did nothing wrong, simply bought a pretty holding, but little did we know at the time of purchase there were already shabby deals being exercised with my neighbours.
There are many others who have suffered the loss of thousands of pounds and their future due to Carmarthen Council's corrupt planning department.
I would love to see implemented an anti-corruption unit set up specifically for planning departments. It is criminal conduct of the worst kind to knowingly destroy peoples lives in order to cover up your own disgusting dishonest criminal activities. This is the legacy of Mark James and I would hope one day I will see him arrested for what he has perpetrated upon us and not just us, many many others too.
Btw, I see from the latest figures that Carms Council have spent a whopping £109,000 over budget on 'additional' legal costs relating to the Wellness Village scandal. An amount like that would have made quite a difference to the annual budget of a primary school. I wonder how much of it was spent on 'that report' from Acuity Law, who also just happen to be Mr James' personal solicitors...
They clearly have money to burn...and if it wasn't for those pesky bloggers, no one would be any the wiser...
As someone who has just been pulled up for not offering enough challenge to the authority figure in my school governor role, let's take a moment together to consider an uncomfortable truth. Ready?
You are allowed to say "No". You are allowed to say "We're not happy with this being held in a closed meeting - there's now a public interest that we should consider what you are doing..."
You can ask why, exactly, the presence of the media or members of the public in the room will inevitably lead to a plague on Wales and the end of all life on this side of Swansea...
Have the wisdom to ask questions and have the balls to insist on answers... If they want claim you can't ask a question, the reason is because they really, really don't want to answer it!
I can't recall there ever being any challenge to holding an item in closed session, there's never a murmur, no matter what the subject matter. This is all part of that officer-led, toxic culture I keep mentioning.
A case in point is an agenda item for next Monday's Exec Board meeting (3rd June). Despite the scandals, the wasted cash, rigged tenders, the damning reports, legal threats, and calls for urgent transparency, a report on the Wellness Village is exempt from press, public and non-exec councillors, and will be held in private session.
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