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Cllr David Simpson: ‘I wasn’t sacked, I resigned’

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Cllr Jamie Adams: Simpson says he is 'a capable boy with bad judgement'

Cllr Jamie Adams: Simpson says he is ‘a capable boy with bad judgement’

THE HERALD can reveal the story behind the shock departure of popular and respected County Councillor David Simpson from the Council Cabinet. In an official statement, the Council have claimed he was sacked. Councillor Simpson, however, a Justice of the Peace, told The Herald that the truth is that he resigned.

CLLR SIMPSON: ‘I RESIGNED!’

CONCERN about the conduct of a fellow Cabinet member was one of the reasons why David Simpson decided to step down from the Cabinet and leave the IPPG.

Councillor Simpson described the efforts of Cllr Rob Lewis to derail the investigatory committee into Bryn Parry Jones as the key reason for his decision to resign.

Speaking with our assistant editor Jon Coles on Friday afternoon after his departure from the Housing portfolio he has held for eight years, Councillor Simpson said:

“I decided to go that because of some of the things that have gone on. Two members came to me, Peter Morgan and Mark Edwards: Mark was very, very concerned that Cllr Rob Lewis the Deputy Leader was trying to intimidate Peter; particularly that pressure was being applied to stop Peter appearing before the Committee (investigating CEO Bryn Parry Jones) next Monday. Rob Lewis was doing his best to dissuade Peter from attending.

“I had heard about this over the preceding days while I had been away on holiday. I met with Peter and Mark yesterday evening and what they said was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I made a decision then that I would resign.”

Cllr David Simpson: "the straightest and best man on the whole Council", said Cllr Peter Morgan

Cllr David Simpson: “the straightest and best man on the whole Council”, said Cllr Peter Morgan

The Herald spoke to The Havens representative Peter Morgan about what David Simpson had told us.

Cllr Morgan told The Herald: “David is the straightest and best man on the whole Council. If there was ever anyone you want to talk to about a problem you are having, it is him; everyone on the Council will tell you that about him. Pembrokeshire County Council can’t afford to do without him.”

He added: “I spoke with David last night and said that Rob Lewis has spoken to me about appearing before the investigatory committee. My position is that pressure won’t work on me. I will do what is right. When I spoke to Jamie Adams last night, I told him the same thing.”

Pembrokeshire Herald readers will recall that it was Cllr Rob Lewis who acted as Bryn Parry-Jones’ intermediary when Peter Morgan and Mark Edwards were summoned to meet the CEO and subjected to a foul-mouthed tirade for voting that he should be asked to return money paid to him unlawfully by the Council. Cllr Lewis was also suspended from the Council for his underhand activities in using the Council’s facilities to run the IPPG’s last election campaign. He is widely credited with creating the dodgy dossier handed by Monitoring Officer to Tim Kerr QC ahead of February’s vote of no confidence in Bryn.

The Herald understands that Rob Lewis arranged a meeting between Peter Morgan and Laurence Harding, the Council’s own Monitoring Officer who is supposed to ensure members abide by the Code of Conduct. We understand that the meeting took place in the members’ room at County Hall, where Peter Morgan found the Monitoring Officer waiting to see him.

We put Laurence Harding’s involvement to Peter Morgan, who confirmed: “Laurence Harding met with me to discuss my attendance at the investigatory committee on Monday (Sep 29). He told me that if I didn’t want to attend, if I just left him a signed note it would all be okay and I wouldn’t have to go.”

Monitoring Officer Lawrence Harding: Cllr Simpson said he told him he didn't have to attend Bryn investigation meeting

Monitoring Officer Laurence Harding: Encouraged Cllr Peter Morgan that he could make a written submission instead of being questioned by councillors on Monday’s CEO disciplinary investigation.

 

“CABINET HAVE BEEN KEPT IN THE DARK”

On the subject of his meeting with Jamie Adams this morning, David Simpson said:

“I met with Jamie Adams, the Leader, this morning (Friday, Sept 26). I have had concerns for several months, if not two years, about the make-up of the Cabinet, about the dissemination of information down to the Cabinet, and the fact that the Cabinet is a two tier system. You have the leader and his two deputies and then the rest of the Cabinet; the rest of the Cabinet are just kept in the dark.

“I have been unhappy with this for the last two years and I have told Jamie that on many occasions and have been dissatisfied. There have been several instances over the last few months that I have been unhappy with.

“Last night, after meeting with Mark and Peter, I spoke to Ian Westley, the acting Head of Service, to tell him of my resignation. I also phoned Lyn Hambidge, who has been especially supportive during my time in Housing. She was vital to the achievement of my first goal in housing, which was to drive down the amount the Council was paying in bed and breakfast for homeless people. That was over a million pounds a year when I started and I think was under £20,000 last year.”

County Hall: News of Simpson's departure from cabinet a shock to many

County Hall: News of Simpson’s departure from cabinet a shock to many

HOW ADAMS SPUN THE NEWS

When The Herald discussed the morning’s events with David Simpson, a very different picture emerged than that reported by the Council. Cllr Simpson told us:

“I met with the leader this morning. He told me he was getting rid of the two deputies, which is something I had hoped for, although I was disappointed they were remaining in the Cabinet, and there were also two members coming out of Cabinet. One was David Pugh, which I thought was a good move after the debacle with the grants scheme, and then he informed me that the other one was going to be me. I was aghast and reminded him that I put more hours into my Cabinet role than he did, or any other member of Cabinet and I have never embarrassed him like others have in the past and have been very supportive of him.

Cllr Simpson added: “When the email from Bob Kilmister suggesting that I could be a leader of a “Grand Alliance” came round, I knew nothing about it. I laughed about it really and thought it was a marvellous thing to do – from Bob Kilmister’s point of view – to put the cat among amongst the pigeons.

“I told Jamie that I had not envisaged being sacked and I came here this morning intending to resign – and that can be verified by Ian Westley and Lyn Hambidge – and so I told him, before you ask me to step down, I resign.

“I drove five minutes down the road to County Hall; phoned Sue Sanders, who does administration for members and asked for the form to sign as I was resigning from the Cabinet and the Independent group – I think it was impossible for me to remain in the group and preserve my own integrity – and she said: “Haven’t you looked at the website yet?”

“It was clear everything had been pre-planned, but the fact remains I resigned.

THE DOWNFALL OF THE IPPG

On the subject of the Leader, Cllr Simpson said: “I think Jamie Adams is a very capable boy at public speaking but has a lot of bad judgement in the people he appoints. I haven’t got a lot of time for him anymore. I fully supported that man as leader. I told him I was there to support him. I told him that Cabinet was there to support him. But unfortunately he doesn’t confide in Cabinet.”

“I have told Jamie Adams that under no circumstances would I stand against him. For the last two years I have been asked to stand against him on a number of occasions. On each occasion I have refused because I thought he needed a chance to get on with the job. I have also had disputes with him in as much I do not like some of the decisions and appointments he has made. But I was Cabinet member and he was the leader.”

“I have no intention of starting a campaign for me to be leader against Jamie Adams. I never wanted it. I don’t want it now.”

One of the key points the Justice of the Peace made when we spoke to him he said “I can see the downfall of the Independent group.”

“Brian Hall is trying to form his own group at the moment and he supposedly has several members. If you take three or four people out of the Independent Group plus Brian Hall, you are taking votes away from Jamie and his majority.

“Jamie will lose his position. He is doing it himself. He is on the self-destruct button.

THANKING THE STAFF

“Housing has been my passion for the last eight years. I have been wonderfully supported by the housing staff over the last eight years. I can tell you that everyone in that department gives 110%. They are fantastic and helped make my job a lot easier. Where I go from here I don’t know. Being in the opposition was the furthest thing from my mind in my entire political career.”

The full report of David Simpson’s straight-talking interview will be in next week’s Pembrokeshire Herald: Issue 66, Friday October 3.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Michael Evans

    September 26, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Jamie Adams has brought nothing but shame on this great county of ours. I look forward to the day when that irritating smirk is wiped off his face when he is forced out of office and sent back to his farm where he belongs! !!

  2. tomos

    September 26, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Gordon Bennet, we don’t want honest and decent ppl in the iPG – SACK ‘EM, oh, hang on you have :((

  3. Stephen

    September 27, 2014 at 12:28 am

    As someone who has just stopped working for the local authority (in a somewhat different capacity), I am amazed to see how very close to my own experience the story Cllr. Simpson has to tell is. I think there is something deeply ingrained in how the council operates, from the very highest echelons to the very lowest levels, which is about opportunism, bullying, and an earnest desire to get one over on anyone who dares demonstrate the slightest dissent.

    We may lose out in the short term, but it is the authority – and the residents of Pembrokeshire – who will lose out long-term, as the council continues to purge itself of anyone other than forelock-tuggers, yes-men, those who lack the imagination to object to anything their self-imagined “betters” could come up with, and those too frightened by seeing what happens to others to risk sticking their own necks out.

    It’s not a brilliant way to do business.

  4. Allen

    September 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Once again we see the name Rob Lewis cropping up.This man should be expelled from the cabinet forthwith,His behind the scenes antic’s are unforgiving.

  5. Dave Edwards

    September 27, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Has anyone measured Jamie’s nose lately/ it looks longer than last week!

  6. Cynthia Williams

    September 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Obviously whoever is in charge of the cabinet is off his rocker! Make no mistake, David Simpson is a great loss to the County and surrounding areas. He was the only cabinet member who delivered on his policies.Well done and thank you for your work David. If only there were more honest councillors like you who passionately wanted to make a difference to Pembrokeshire. Cllr Simpson re-established the relationship with the communities; recognising that people are more informed these days and wish to participate more and to take greater control over their own lives and their communities, and creating a means by which that element of power could be returned to people. He is anchored in the community and put the community role first and foremost in anything he does.A great loss and shame. I hope he continues to strive forward and be successful in the future.

  7. Bob smith

    September 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end for the downfall of Jamie Adams. He should look in the mirror for a true reflection of bad judgment. Cllr simpson is a credit to Pembrokeshire and may he continue to do so. I watch with anticipation and hope tha he strives to continue to make truth and transparency in the council for the benefit of all.

  8. Christina Simpson

    September 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    As the wife of David Simpson I am obviously biased. However after watching and listening from the wings I feel compelled to comment on the events of the past few days. First and foremost I am absolutely disgusted by the disgraceful way Jamie Adams has treated David. It appears to me that the more committed you are to your cabinet role and the more hours you put in, the less you are thought of. I know how hard David has worked over the past eight years and how he has spent time building relationships with officers and staff. The amount of phone calls, emails and text messages of support that he has received since Friday is testament to the respect that he has gained from the people of Pembrokeshire. How many messages of support has Jamie Adams received I wonder? He quite obviously wanted rid of David because he had an opinion and was not afraid to voice it but isn\\’t that what the so called \\” independent group\\” is meant to do……be independent? David was doing the job he was meant to do and doing it extremely well but that counted for nothing in Jamie Adams\\’ view, he only wants people who will toe the line on his cabinet. Finally I would like to personally thank the many people who have shown such amazing support for David and say to you all, don\\’t put up with this farce any longer, do something to make change happen in Pembrokeshire and get rid of these leaches on our society. We need people who are there for the right reasons, people who do the job they are elected to do for the good of Pembrokeshire, not people who are there to line their own pockets. There has been far too much moral corruption for far too long and David has been penalised for trying to fight it from the inside. It is my greatest hope that a change is about to come to our County.

  9. Dylan jones

    September 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    \”It is a reflection of the state of democracy in Pembrokeshire that a man of David Simpson\’s stature should be brought down by a bunch of power-hungry chancers. Although he seems reluctance to make a bid for the for the Leadership, it is my belief that, should he decide to do so, he would have the overwhelming support of a vast majority of right thinking members.\”

  10. SM1968

    September 29, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Come on David Simpson, the momentum is with you,as is I suspect a huge backing from colleagues and public, take Jamie down, takes his allies with him, and then take charge and sort this mess out.

  11. Dylan Williams

    September 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Could not agree more with SM1968! Come on David “put the cat among amongst the pigeons” and herald the downfall of Jamie Adams! You have the support, momentum and the backing of many around you – together we can make a change – never have so few had the potential to do so much with so little. This is an opportunity to make real change to Pembrokeshire and its people. What else can you lose? we are all proud of the hard work you have done and the potential and ability left in you as a CCLR is overwhelming.

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Pembrokeshire cottage letting agency offers free holidays to NHS heroes

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PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED holiday letting agency St Brides Bay Cottages has teamed up with its property owners and Operation Recuperation to offer free holidays to frontline healthcare workers. The family-run firm has announced the scheme to say thank you to the healthcare heroes who are risking their lives to keep the UK safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The generous initiative will see healthcare professionals enjoy a well-deserved break in picturesque St Davids, Solva, Newgale or Porthgain, after the crisis is over. The scheme is part of Operation Recuperation, a UK-wide campaign launched to gift future stays in beautiful places to frontline healthcare providers.

Sam Sibbald, manager of St Brides Bay Cottages, based in Solva, said: “This is our way of showing our dedicated healthcare workers that we appreciate everything they’re doing in such difficult circumstances.

“I saw first-hand the pressure the NHS is under, when my dad had a stay in hospital last year. I could tell how pushed they were on a normal day-to-day basis, let alone with having COVID-19 to deal with. Now my dad is at home, needing carers every day, and I can see, more than ever, how much we rely on the people who look after us.

“We’re taking part in Operation Recuperation thanks to the generosity of our cottage owners. By gifting stays to these dedicated workers, we’ll be helping them to recover from the fight against coronavirus.”

Several cottage owners, whose properties are let by St Brides Bay Cottages, have come forward to donate stays in their holiday homes.

Among them is Sheila Morgan, who together with her husband Chris, owns The Anchorage, a two-bedroom apartment in Solva. She said: “As a retired nurse with medical staff in the family, I can fully appreciate the strains and stresses all NHS staff are going through at present. Thank you all for your sterling work. Hopefully the peace, quiet and Pembrokeshire air will aid recuperation.”

Debbie and Patrick Bowie-Moore, the owners of five-bedroom holiday home Mount Pleasant, in Solva, said: “The healthcare workers have offered their all, and it’s our privilege to give a family – who may have been kept apart – the opportunity to stay in Mount Pleasant as a massive thank you.”

Simon Baker, who owns Cefn y Mor, a four-bedroom property in Solva, said: “We are backing the Operation Recuperation project because we have family members on the frontline of the NHS, and know what risks they are taking, and what effort they are putting into saving lives. Our only effort is to stay at home and avoid infection. A small price to pay.”

Jim and Maureen Dale, whose three-bedroom holiday home, May Cottage, is situated on a grade II-listed farm, near St Davids, said: “Rarely do we get an opportunity to say thank you to the staff at the NHS – we tend to take the service so much for granted. Now the chips are down and there they all are, on the frontline looking after us all. Thank you all at the NHS.”

David and Judith James, who are offering a free stay at their converted watermill, Melin Llanrhian, near Porthgain, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Operation Recuperation as a very small thank you to everyone in the NHS who has worked so hard in such challenging circumstances.”

Operation Recuperation is collecting donations – in room nights and cash – to give free stays to frontline healthcare staff, once the virus restrictions have been lifted.

Rachel Sherwood, who launched Operation Recuperation, said: “A huge thank you to St Brides Bay Cottages for proudly supporting Operation Recuperation and to the cottage owners who have donated stays in this stunning part of Wales, despite very challenging times.

“Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a number of our frontline healthcare staff will be enjoying long clifftop walks, fresh seafood, lazy days on the beach and cosy evenings in sea-view cottages.”

To find out more about St Brides Bay Cottages and Operation Recuperation, visit: https://www.stbridesbaycottages.com/, email enquiries@stbridesbaycottages.com or call 01437 720027.

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Council pays out £2.5m in business grants to date

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has revealed that since Wednesday, 1st April, it has already paid out £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Paul Miller, said Council staff had been working hard to make the Covid-19 business grants payable as soon as possible

Explained Councillor Miller: “Payments started on Wednesday this week for those who qualify for grants linked to the National Non-Domestic Ratings (NNDR) system. We have already paid out around £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

“Daily payment runs are being made in order that these can get into business bank accounts as soon as possible.

“We cannot unfortunately acknowledge receipt of applications but, once authorised, businesses will be emailed and the grant will be paid within two to three working days.”

Councillor Miller added: “If there are any issues with a grant application, or information is missing, a Council officer will be in touch to discuss the matter. A dedicated team has been set up to do this.”

For further business advice refer to the Council’s Business pages which can be accessed via the following link: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

This will enable access to the application form for the above grants, provide answers to frequently asked questions and links to further sources of advice through HMRC, Welsh Government, Department of Work and Pensions, Public Health Wales and other organisations.

For further enquiries not answered through the business pages, email: covid19@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and an officer will respond. Please view the business pages first.

For those who don’t qualify for the grants, Welsh Government will soon be making details available of how business can access other funding through an Economic Resilience Fund.

Details will be available on the Council’s business pages as soon as they are released by Welsh Government.

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Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation

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A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.

A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.

Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.

The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.

T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.

“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.

“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.

“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”

The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.

For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19

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