Jacob Williams
Wednesday 8th September, 2021

Extraordinary meeting postponed

Monday’s extraordinary Pembrokeshire County Council meeting (see previous blogpost) has been postponed.

Councillors are told that a new date for the September 13th meeting will be arranged “at the earliest possible opportunity,” because:

“There are a number of issues that have recently come to light which are unable to be resolved ahead of the meeting and it is essential that Members have the fullest information and be correctly advised in order to consider the matter before them.”

The cancellation must have been unexpected – as it comes less than a day after an undetailed agenda for it was published on the council’s website.

It’s still online – and contains only one of the three items a previous memo said would be up for discussion.

It recommends that councillors vote to exclude the public and press during the sole item of business, titled:

Report of the Deputy Monitoring Officer to Council – Settlement Agreement and Payment to the Former Chief Executive

“Report to follow,” is the only other detail associated with this proposed behind-closed-doors debate.

The two missing agenda items are the “Draft Statutory Officer Disciplinary Procedure” and “Monitoring Officer – interim arrangements,” as I previously outlined.


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11 Comments...

  • Malcolm Calver

    Another case of kicking it into the long grass and waiting for the ploughman to come along?

    What excuse will be put forward for excluding the press and public I wonder?

  • John Hudson

    It would appear that this council’s administrative machine has lost its legal and procedural rudder.

    How can officers report to councillors on the basis of incomplete advice?

    Yet these senior officers are responsible for putting together the annual budget for cabinet approval.

    Are we meant to have confidence in either or both? Where is the new CEO by the way?

    Perhaps he can instil some discipline into basic, procedural, impartial matters and ensure the advice given by officers is based on full and impartial relevant information.

  • On your last paragraph, John, I would imagine that the Audit Wales report will have a lot to say on this topic – if, indeed, a decision to award the pay-off was made on improper advice.

  • John Hudson

    Some years ago the auditor undertook to investigate contentious legal decisions of this council. I do not remember any reports.

    On cabinet day, I see that the interim chief executive took a delegated decision. This appears to amount to a published blank page.

    I would be most interested to see the precise delegated powers the interim CEO has been granted by council/cabinet, and what his decision is.

  • Arthur Arran

    Surely the agreed pay-off amount was rubber stamped by the council’s legal department? If it wasn’t, it shouldn’t have been paid. Why do I get the feeling I’ve heard this before, a few years ago?

  • James Reid

    My bet is the lawyers are involved.

    I can’t think of many officers who want it aired that they’re even worse than most of us think.

  • Wynne

    I assume the public will be aware of when the new CEO commences work as there may be tanks parked in County Hall car park!

  • John Hudson

    A while ago operational officers proposed an increase in cremation fees, where there was no limit to charges. Cabinet approved a public consultation on the strength of this advice and legal advice that the proposal was legal.

    The cabinet member, when challenged at council, admitted that the full legal implications had not been considered.

    Post consultation, new information was included in reports where increased charges had to be reasonable. Officers reported that in their view their proposed charges were reasonable. Councillors disagreed and a lower charge was approved.

    The Council still made an increased surplus out of cremation charges. Somehow, officers took this as a green light to increase an above inflation charge to separate burial charges.

    Beware, the only way to avoid surplus-making charged-for services is to not use them. Use is taken as acceptance of the charge.

  • John Hudson

    Arthur, the public record shows that the settlement agreement was signed by the leader, (under plenary powers???) on advice.

    The approval of the agreement allowed the Director of Resources to approve the expenditure under his delegated authority – in my view, only if the leader could lawfully approve the agreement. I think that the agreement needed full council approval. We shall see.

  • Flashbang

    Excluding the public and press for this discussion is not acceptable, the taxpayer and public has a right to know about all the shady deals being done in their name with their money.

  • Pembs. Exile

    When is the grass (referred to by Malcolm Calver) likely to be cut?

    Three weeks is a long time to leave it unattended!

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