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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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Death on Freemens Way

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A 56-YEAR-OLD man has died following an incident on Freemens Way, Haverfordwest, on Wednesday night (Jul 15).

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “A 56-year-old man has died following an incident at Freemens Way, Haverfordwest, last night.

“He was taken to hospital with severe injuries, but sadly passed away.

“His family has been informed and is being supported by local officers.

“An investigation is ongoing but the circumstances are not believed to be suspicious.

“HM coroner has been informed.”

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Two arrested for shouting racist comments at BLM protest

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TWO teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of shouting racist comments at Black Lives Matter protestors, at the latest event in Haverfordwest on Wednesday night (Jul 15).
Commenting on the incident, Superintendent of Pembrokeshire division, Ross Evans said: “On Wednesday evening (July 15) a peaceful protest took place on Picton Fields, Haverfordwest, as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The demonstration, which was attended by around 70 people, was overseen by local officers as part of appropriate plans in place to allow for peaceful protest.

“Sadly, officers present observed a man and a boy shouting a number of racist comments towards those attending the demonstration, and promptly arrested both, one aged 19 and the other 14, on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.

“The comments understandably caused a great deal of upset and distress to those from the demonstration who heard them.

“The two men arrested have been taken to Haverfordwest custody, where they remain currently. Anyone who witnessed the incident and has any information is asked to contact police by emailing us at: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or call 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311908.”

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Local bus firms in protest drive over uncertainty

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HONK for hope is being backed by the coach operators surrounding the South West Wales area.

They took to the roads around Haverfordwest, Carmarthen, and Cardigan in peaceful protest to support the call for help by coach operators during the corona virus pandemic.

Honk for hope is a national campaign to draw the public’s attention to the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the industry. It seeks to draw Governments attention to the dangerous position the coach and travel industry has fallen under, asking for them to take action.

Local coach companies, including Midway Motors, took to the roads to show their support to the campaign and to highlight the impact the pandemic has had on the industry and to ask for more support from the Government.

The coaches and supporters met at the Carmarthen Park and Ride on July 14 at 11am to begin the drive. On the trip they visited Carmarthen at around 11.15am then headed to Haverfordwest for noon, finally reaching cardigan at 1.30pm.

Midway Motors spoke on their social media page: ‘Amazing to see so many local companies turning up to travel around Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Nice to see so many people along the roadsides as well. Let’s hope for some good news from the Government in Westminster tomorrow.”

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