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Bryn to take ‘leave of absence’ following Herald revelations

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CEO under fire: Bryn Parry Jones

CEO under fire: Bryn Parry Jones

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s embattled Chief Executive, Bryn Parry Jones is to step aside, it has been announced today (Aug 15).

Following a series of shocking revelations in this week’s Herald about the CEO’s conduct, IPPG leader Jamie Adams announced the embattled chief exec is to take “a period of absence” from his post.

East Williamston Councillor Jacob Williams was first to break the news on his website this morning when he reported:

“Within hours of today’s Herald going on sale, council Leader Jamie Adams issued the following press statement:

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams, has announced that the Chief Executive, Mr Bryn Parry-Jones, is to take a period of absence with immediate effect.

Councillor Adams said: “This decision has been taken in view of the continuing speculation surrounding the Chief Executive’s position.

“It has been reached by mutual agreement between Mr Parry-Jones and myself and I believe is in the best interests of the Authority at the present time.

“There will be no further statements on this matter.”’

Last weekend Councillor Williams was the first to report on the explosive content of a letter sent to Jamie Adams by former Audit Committee Chair John Evans MBE. In that letter, Mr Evans made a series of allegations about the CEO’s conduct at a secret meeting on May 16 after the Herald revealed the identity of a Council Officer who had interfered with the minutes of a grants panel meeting.

A statement released by Cllr Adams after Cllr Williams and the Herald reported the allegations concerning Mr Evans claimed that the former Audit Chair – a former head of a multinational company – had “misinterpreted” events at the meeting. Cllr David Simpson, Cabinet spokesperson for housing, who was one of two councillors who were actually present at the May 16 meeting in the CEO’s office, told the Herald that his recollection accorded with Mr Evans’ other than in relation to the meeting’s atmosphere of alleged ‘hostility’.

Since Mr Evans’ letter’s online publication and the appearance of a series of articles on the Herald’s own website, momentum has grown for dramatic change at County Hall.

That momentum was increased today when the Herald exclusively revealed that the CEO – a Council employee – had launched an expletive-laden rant at two councillors, former British Lion Peter Morgan and local businessman Mark Edwards, following their support of a motion requesting that the CEO pay back unlawful payments made to him by the Council.

The Herald was contacted this morning by Cllr Mike Williams, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, who said:

“Without your efforts there can be little doubt that the shenanigans of County Hall would not have become so publicly known.

“I have to plead guilty as one of the original members who appointed Mr Parry Jones to his current role in 1995, despite being aware that Carmarthen had failed to appoint him, and having received numerous phone calls from then members of Llanelli Council, who up until then had employed Mr Parry Jones warning me that he had been a disaster with them, and pointing out his autocratic verging on arrogant management style.

“Mr Parry Jones is the senior civil servant in Pembrokeshire. What do the revelations of his conduct tell us about him? Can you imagine any Welsh Government officer speaking to elected members in this fashion?

“I find it alarming that the relationship has become almost incestuous between the controlling group and an officer who is supposed to serve all members, not one group.”

Mr Parry Jones’ “period of absence” is widely thought to be a desperate attempt by the Council’s ruling group to preserve its grip on the levers of power and potentially save the position of Council Leader Jamie Adams.

Councillor Adams has been repeatedly and publicly voluble in his support for the Council’s CEO, to the extent where questions have arisen about the CEO’s alleged involvement in the Council’s political processes. Such is the closeness of their working relationship that it beggars belief that Jamie Adams was not aware of issues surrounding the CEO’s conduct towards Councillors and others when crossed.

With a requisition for an Extraordinary Meeting to vote on no confidence motions against both the CEO and IPPG Leader Adams, Jamie Adams’ own position as leader of the council is hanging by a thread.

The Herald has today revealed that a widespread movement exists for the replacement of Councillor Adams with Councillor David Simpson as Council Leader. Councillor Simpson’s reputation for plain-speaking integrity, as befits a serving Justice of the Peace, is thought to be key to restoring public confidence in the Council.

The Herald’s Assistant Editor Jon Coles said:

“Enough people have “known” what has been going on for years. At last there are people prepared to say in public what they whisper in private. And – importantly – those prepared to publish it.”

http://jacobwilliams.com/6397/chief-executive-to-take-period-of-absence/

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Two banned from county after ‘disturbance’ at Penally Asylum Centre

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TWO asylum seekers have been banned from entering Pembrokeshire while investigations take place into a disturbance at a military training camp where asylum seekers are being housed.

Dyfed-Powys Police said it was called to the Penally Asylum Accommodation centre at 13:45 HRS on Tuesday (Oct 20)

A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray, and a 25-year-old man was held on suspicion of assault.

Both have been bailed on condition they avoid the area, the force said.

Home Office spokesman told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “The government takes the wellbeing of asylum seekers and the communities in which they live extremely seriously.

“We are aware of an incident at the Penally site but it would be inappropriate to comment further while investigations are ongoing.”

There was an ongoing police presence at the camp again on Wednesday night (Oct 20) – with a police van with blue lights flashing seen driving into the facility.

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Two arrests following disturbance inside Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre

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THERE was a large police presence at Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre on Tuesday afternoon, after what police are describing as a ‘disturbance involving a small group of people.’

The emergency call went out at lunch time, and thirteen police vehicles responded to the incident, a resident of Penally confirmed.

At first the police said that one person had been arrested, but later on Tuesday evening the police released a second statement saying that two people had been taken into custody.

It is understood that both the persons arrested are asylum seekers staying at the former army training camp.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald in it’s latest emailed statement: “We were called to a disturbance involving a small group of people within the Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre at around 1.45pm on Tuesday (Oct 20).

“Two people have been arrested, a 22 year old man and a 25 year old man. The 22 year old was arrested on suspicion of affray, and the 25 year old was arrested on suspicion of assault. No one was taken to hospital.

“The investigation is ongoing.”

Our reporter was at the scene just after 7pm on Tuesday and the area was quiet.

There was no visible police presence remaining outside the former army camp, and just a handful of protestors outside the main gate.

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Follow lockdown rules, public leaders in Pembrokeshire urge

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PULBIC leaders in Pembrokeshire are urging people to comply with the latest measures introduced by the Welsh Government under its ‘firebreak’ scheme.

Councillors David Simpson and Paul Harries – Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council and Chairman of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority respectively – have echoed the sentiments of First Minister Mark Drakeford’s “come together” call.

“It is imperative for the safety of all of us that we follow the regulations which come into effect on Friday” Councillor Simpson emphasised.

“Although the number of coronavirus cases in Pembrokeshire is relatively low compared with other areas across the nation, the figures here are on the rise. Undoubtedly measures would have to be taken sooner or later in our county to halt that increase.

“The thinking is that introducing a 17-day long ‘firebreak’ now and across the nation will slow the spread of the virus and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.

“This could potentially prevent hundreds of deaths.

“So I appeal to everyone to comply with the restrictions being introduced and follow the safety advice of wearing face coverings in confined public spaces, observe social distancing and regularly wash your hands.

Councillor Paul Harries said : “We appreciate that people will want to access the National Park and the outdoors more than ever as we head into the firebreak lockdown, but we are asking people to follow the guidance and only exercise from home, whilst following the Countryside Code.

“We understand that the restrictions are challenging for people, but keeping Pembrokeshire safe is our utmost priority and we will do all we can to support Welsh Government in following the guidance.

“When the time is right we look forward to welcoming visitors back to Pembrokeshire and most importantly doing this at a time when we can keep everyone safe. For now, we urge everyone to follow the firebreak guidance and stay home to stay safe.”

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions go to: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-circuit-break-frequently-asked-questions

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