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BRYN ‘MUST RESIGN’

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must resignCouncil Chief In Unlawful Payments Scandal

AN EXPLOSIVE report by the Wales Audit Office (WAO) has decided that payments made by Pembrokeshire County Council to its controversial CEO Bryn Parry-Jones WERE unlawful.

The report concludes that the council did not have legal powers to implement its infamous tax-dodge scheme, and follows an investigation by the Assistant Auditor General for Wales, Anthony Barrett, who said (emphasis added):

“Pembrokeshire Council has acted UNLAWFULLY and URGENTLY needs to rescind the decision about pensions opt-outs and stop any further payments to senior officers. The public should be able to expect the highest standards of decision-making at local authorities and the Council MUST now address the procedural weaknesses I have identified in my report. It needs to demonstrate to its electorate that it is operating in accordance with the law and in line with good governance principles.”

• Bryn’s pension scheme “a pay supplement”

• Police now meeting with Audit Office

• Full Council to meet and consider report

• Payments must stop immediately

plaid callsPlaid Cymru calls for resignations

PLAID CYMRU representatives for Pembrokeshire have called on the leadership of Pembrokeshire Council to consider their position following a damning report by the Wales Audit Office report on ‘unlawful’ pensions opt out payments at the council.

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas, Shadow Education Minister for Plaid Cymru commented: “Over £50,000 has been paid to the Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire Council and one other senior officer. My Plaid Cymru colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas and his team have worked to strengthen accountability over the remuneration packages of local authority chief executives, and have been successful in seeing changes to salaries being scrutinised by the independent remuneration board.”

“The Wales Audit Office is clear that the pension opt out payments at Pembrokeshire Council were ‘unlawful’. In light of this report the leadership of Pembrokeshire Council should consider their position. Pembrokeshire taxpayers will want the council to revoke the decision on pension pay-outs and halt any further payments to senior officers.”

Leader of Plaid Cymru on Pembrokeshire Council, Councillor Michael Williams, who sat on the council’s audit committee added: “I questioned the legality of these payments at the time. I’m sad that the Wales Audit Office has ruled that Pembrokeshire Council has acted illegally. “We have one of the highest paid senior management yet we stumble from one crisis to another. Pembrokeshire Council has failed our young people on education and let our most vulnerable down on social care. “Pembrokeshire Council was on the cusp of being put into special measures and we were only redeemed by the intervention and assistance of the Ministerial Board.

voices concernCllr Paul Miller voices concern

“THIS REPORT from the Audit Office backs up what I, the Labour Group, opposition Councillors and to be fair, the Pembrokeshire Herald, have said all along. The council never had the power to make this decision and never should have made it in the way it did.

Bryn Parry-Jones, with the assistance of 6 long standing Councillors, awarded himself a 5 figure pay rise. Discussions of complex and technical pension arrangements have always been a smoke screen for what is a back door pay rise, pure and simple.

A key question your readers may be asking themselves though is why? Why through the back door? This council have never been afraid in the past of simply declaring ‘you have to pay the best to get the best’. Well we all know the reason and that’s because in 2011 when this decision was taken the council was in the process of implementing its new pay model for staff. That pay model took thousands of pounds a year away from some of the authorities lowest paid staff and so instead of asking themselves if it was right, morally right, to give Bryn an extra £20,000 while taking thousands from someone cutting the grass on £15,000 a year the question became, well how can we get away with giving him £20,000, without it looking like a pay rise?

I was clear when this started that the arrangement should be terminated immediately and the chief executive suspended pending a formal investigation. We will be calling for an extraordinary meeting of council as soon as possible and insisting that motion is put to an all member vote!

Pembrokeshire’s council tax payers are going to be furious again and yet again feel powerless to act.

Well I can assure them that I will be acting and I would encourage them to talk, lobby, accost if necessary their local councillors, particularly their local independent group Councillors, and demand they put a stop to the shady, back door way this council is determined to operate!”

‘Petition for Change at Pembrokeshire Council’ page on facebook and my petition (over 350 signatories so far) at www.paulmillerpembrokeshire.com/councilchange

 

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Welsh Deputy Minister visits New Farm Shop

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Pictured : Julie Morgan AM

A new farm and produce shop on the Scolton Manor estate outside Haverfordwest has been visited by a Welsh Government Minister.

Julie Morgan AM – Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care – called at the shop to see the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) in action.

The shop provides work experience, training and supported employment opportunities in retail and customer service for people with learning disabilities, disabilities and autism.

It is an addition to Pembrokeshire County Council’s existing supported employment offer through Norman Industries, the Authority’s sheltered employment factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest.

The shop is the result of partnership working involving Workways+ and Experience for Industry – both funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government – Norman Industries and the management and staff at the Council-run Scolton Manor attraction.

The shop, which opened just a few weeks ago, will be supplying the public with fresh produce from the walled gardens at Scolton Manor, local meats, produce, tea and coffee.

It also provides a retail outlet for some of the arts, crafts and products made at Norman Industries.

Over the coming months the shop will also be supplying chutneys made by participants and employees at the supported employment café in Milford leisure centre ‘Caffi Man Cwrdd’.

The Deputy Minister was welcomed by County Councillor Tessa Hodgson, the Authority’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

The farm shop has been partially resourced and staffed through some of the £400,000 ICF money allocated to expand supported employment opportunities regionally.

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Haverfordwest: Police promise extra patrols for GCSE results night

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THERE will be an increased police presence in Haverfordwest tonight, in response to an anticipated influx of young people who will be celebrating their GCSE results.

Parents are being asked to go over their child’s plan for the evening, before they head out. Sergeant Haydon Mathias is overseeing the operation.

He said: “It’s a big day for teenagers, and we understand they want to celebrate after all of their hard work.

“We’ll be there to make sure they do that safely, and without disrupting others.

“This is usually a busy night for us, and historically we have seen crime and anti-social behaviour rise. You’ll notice my team out and about from early this evening to stop that happening. They’ll be seizing alcohol from anyone they suspect is under the age of 18, and dealing with any other issues that arise.

“We’re asking parents to take the reins and discuss plans before your child goes out. Make sure you know where they’re celebrating, who they’re with, and how they’re getting home. It’s useful to make sure your child’s phone is fully charged, in case of an emergency.

“I encourage anyone with concerns to come and speak to an officer or Police Community Support Officer around the town, or contact Dyfed-Powys Police.”

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Llangwm Church Donation Box Stolen

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St Jerome’s Church: Second theft in a year!

 

A DONATION box has been stolen from a village church, the second theft from the historic building in a year.

The donation box at St Jerome’s Church, Llangwm, is believed to have been taken in the last few weeks.

The box is usually kept next to the Talking Tapestry of Langum, a project which tells the story of the village’s origin with the invasion of the Flemish in the 12th century and its later history.

Pamela Hunt of Heritage Llangwm said: “This theft is the second from St. Jerome’s in a year.

“If anyone has seen or knows anything, then please let the police know.

“If they feel unable to do that, but would like to contact us at St Jerome’s Church, then email info@heritagellangwm.org.uk

“We will treat your contact in the strictest confidence.”

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