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29 Councillors back Bryn’s bonanza  

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Cashing in: Bryn Parry Jones

Cashing in: Bryn Parry Jones

THIS WEEKS Pembrokeshire Herald will continue to give readers unrivalled coverage of Thursday’s (Oct 16) unprecedented events at County Hall.

Our reporters were at County Hall all day covering debates that ranged from the future of our County to the future of the Council’s most senior employee.

The payroll vote of the IPPG ensured that the public were excluded from the debate on the terms of a pay-off proposed for controversial CEO Bryn Parry-­Jones.

As we first revealed in an on-line exclusive on Wednesday, October 15, Councillors were today presented with the option of approving a settlement in excess of £320,000.

An impassioned debate took place inside the chamber after the public were excluded. At its end, we spoke with Council Leader Jamie Adams, who told us that he hoped the Council could now move on to face serious challenges over the next few months.

vote

Result: How the councillors voted (Pic J Williams)

With 29 voting in favour and 23 voting against the settlement proposal, the Council divided again along partisan lines, with only Cllr Stan Hudson from the opposition benches supporting the IPPG.

The Herald understands that one sticking point in approving the deal was Bryn Parry­Jones’ assertion of a claim for breach of contract in relation to the Council’s refusal to continue to pay the ‘pay supplement’ ruled unlawful by the Wales Audit Office.

A proposal by unaffiliated councillor Mike Evans to amend the agreement was voted down.

Opposition parties are furious. Plaid Cymru has expressed its disappointment with the decision to pay off the Chief Executive. The Plaid group voted against the recommendation, and argued that the investigation currently being undertaken by the disciplinary committee should have been allowed to conclude its work.

In a statement, Plaid’s leader Cllr Michael Williams said: “The committee had earlier resolved to appoint an Independent person to continue the investigation, and no decision to pay off the CE should have been taken until this work had been completed. There are very serious matters, some of which are known, that should have been brought to a proper conclusion. By agreeing prematurely to this huge pay-off the people of Pembrokeshire will never know of the extent of the allegations of inappropriate behaviour which should have been properly investigated.”

He added: “Once again the IPPG Party which currently runs the County Council have let everyone down by block voting through this immoral agreement.”

Council Labour leader Paul Miller said: “I am pleased that for the first time the people of Pembrokeshire have forced the hand of this council’s ruling elite. They didn’t want to part company with the chief executive, the people forced them to and I’m delighted to see the signs of real democracy returning to Pembrokeshire. I would like to thank people for their support.

“That said, I am bitterly disappointed at the level of the settlement which is completely out of kilter with the lives of the people we represent (and which we are forbidden to report publicly). There was a disciplinary process underway and that process should have been allowed to reach a conclusion. In my view, if it had been allowed, the people of Pembrokeshire would not be so much poorer this afternoon.

“I will continue to fight for change here in Pembrokeshire but tonight, we must celebrate that Bryn Parry Jones will leave and that is solely down to the pressure put upon this administration by the people of Pembrokeshire.”

East Williamston Councillor, Jacob Williams, told The Herald: “As usual at County Hall, this has been a total stitch-up. The disciplinary investigation committee was all a front, witnesses were put under pressure and the process was a sham from beginning to end. I suspect that the leader, Cllr. Jamie Adams, supported the setting up of the disciplinary committee to facilitate behind-the-scenes negotiations enabling the highest pay-off possible to be pushed through the council chamber by his ruling party, the IPPG. This might be the end of Bryn Parry-Jones, but it is certainly not the end of this whole episode.

“IPPG councillors made sure yesterday’s debate was held behind closed doors, where it transpired that the offer on the table we were being asked to approve had been carved out with the chief executive two weeks ago, and crucially, it was agreed before the disciplinary committee had decided that the chief executive’s conduct should be referred for formal independent investigation.”
Cllr Williams added: “Following the decision to refer the chief executive’s conduct for an independent inquiry, his hand was seriously weakened, yet the deal remained unchanged, it wasn’t revised at all. This shows quite clearly to me that the negotiators – Cllr. Adams included – were looking out for Mr. Parry-Jones and what was best for him, and not what was best for taxpayers who will be paying for it.”
“Yesterday’s huge pay-off was about the best deal he could ever have been given, and there was no justification for it. The debate and advice given to councillors was extremely biased in favour of the chief executive’s position rather than the council’s, and the public are rightfully incensed. The councillors who supported this huge pay-off and whose actions stopped dead the possibility of getting any justice against Bryn Parry-Jones’s depraved conduct, should hang their heads in shame. It’s easy to play with other people’s money. If every councillor who voted to support this diamond-encrusted gold-plated deal gave up their councillor salary for a year, it would more than cover the pay-off. I suggest they should give this consideration.”
Delyth Evans, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire, said: “It is hard to understand how a discredited public official could walk off with such a massive pay-off, when the Council refuses to agree even a 1% pay rise to its own poorly paid workforce.  The rules for appointing and dismissing senior council officials need to be changed to ensure this scandalous situation can’t happen again, and I am writing to the Minister for Public Services in the Welsh Government, Leighton Andrews, to this effect.  I hope we can now close the door on this unhappy period in the life of Pembrokeshire County Council.  There needs to be a complete change of culture at the Council, with an end to secret meetings and deals done behind closed doors.  I commend Councillor Paul Miller for his tireless efforts to expose the failings of the Chief Executive and the current Council leadership.  We all need to keep up the pressure on the Cabinet and senior officials to start giving us a local authority the people of Pembrokeshire can be proud of.”

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Bilbo101

    October 17, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    has any one sussed whether the £300k is net or gross?i.e have the dumb councillors not realised they’re also paying Bryns tax in other words half a mill cost for PCC.

    he’s still worth it – I LOVE his intelligynce and perspicoshityness

  2. TheRealBilbo101

    October 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    The above comments attributed to Bilbo101 were not made by myself but by another person who thought it would be clever to sign up to this site using my username which I have used for a number of years on the WT website. The comment above has largely been copied from the WT site from the user Tttoommy’s comments, a user with whom I have frequently fallen out with over the poor quality and inaccuracies of their posts. As a certain number of people know who the real Bilbo101 is then by posting comments under that username is effectively stealing my identity and I would advise that person to be extremely careful what they write as we all leave an online trail of breadcrumbs and no matter how clever you think you are, there is always a way to legally identify and prosecute you should the need arise.

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Police and Fire Service investigating blaze at former bakery

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A FIRE broke out at the old bakery on Snowdrop Lane in Haverfordwest in the early hours of Wednesday morning (Apr 8).

Fire fighters attended from nearby towns to help tackle the fire, with up to seven appliances including an aerial platform at the scene. The fire was most extinguished by around 7am, with investigators arriving to try and establish the cause of the blaze in the unoccupied building.

A spokesperson for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “At 04:03am on, Wednesday (Apr 8) crews from Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard attended a fire at a property in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest.

“The single storey property, measuring approximately 30 meters x 15 meters and used as a place of storage for white goods, was well alight and totally destroyed by the fire.
“Five main jets, an Aerial Rescue Platform water tower, a drone and hydraulic equipment were utilised by the Fire Service to extinguish the fire.
“The Police were also in attendance.
“The Fire Service received the stop message at 07:58am.
“A crew remain at the scene to monitor the incident.
“The incident is under Police and Fire investigation.
A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said:” Following a request by the Fire Service for an assessment of the building by a Pembrokeshire County Council Structural Engineer, a decision has been taken that the building must be demolished.

“Arrangements are being made for the demolition as soon as possible.

“The road closure will remain in place until further notice.

Posting on the Honey Harfat Facebook group, local Dylan Morgan posted sentiments which are shared by many. He wrote: “Sad news that the building which was formerly Snowdrop Bakery/Pridmore’s burnt to the ground overnight. It was in a state of disrepair which was heart-breaking to see. In the grand scheme of things a few decades is but the blink of an eye and because of this, Snowdrop was like a Supernova, a bright star with a life not as long as others.

“It was a part of everyone’s life in Haverfordwest. In the 70’s and 80’s, a bright, busy and bustling place, a community hub if you will that brought a lot of joy. I worked there albeit for a short time. It was pure graft, but this was the nature of things then.

“I encountered some amazing characters there, Mr. and Mrs. P, Rob Mills, Len Cole, Richard and Steven Cole, Nigel Evans, Rob Jones, Billy Doonan, the list is endless.

“In later years it could be said that things weren’t the same after Leslie retired. The business closed under tragic circumstances and we feel for those involved and affected still. For a time though it was an incredible place that touched all our lives. All of us.

“Not just a bakery, not just a shop but also a place where people lived their lives and created memories. Socially, historically and culturally as important as anything in Haverfordwest regardless of age or architecture. It involved people. That is the benchmark of greatness.”

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Pembrokeshire County Council: Leader’s coronavirus update, Tuesday, 7th April

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Pembrokeshire County Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson,
has provided a further coronavirus update for Tuesday, 7th April, as
follows:

‘As I said yesterday, with Easter Bank Holiday approaching we have
one message for everyone – stay home and save lives. You will see a
reinforcement of this message over the coming days.

‘I also mentioned yesterday that we are trying to improve on getting
key messages out to as many people as possible on different
platforms.

‘From Thursday you should also be starting to hear messages on
local radio which we hope further extends our ability to reach as many
people as possible.

‘A reminder that Public Health Wales are updating and adding to their
resources regularly. Please find all assets here: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-resources/

‘A press release issued since my update yesterday is:
 Local produce Markets Adapt To Pandemic: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom/local-produce-markets-
adapt-to-pandemic

‘Also, please keep an eye on our newsroom at:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom
‘Stay Safe. Thank you.’

Useful links:
 www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus
 www.sir-benfro.gov.uk/coronafeirws
 https://phw.nhs.wales/
 Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru – Coronafeirws Newydd (COVID-19)
– Cyngor hunan-ynysu

 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-
19-list-of-guidance

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Boris Johnston being treated in intensive care after ‘condition worsens’

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BORIS JOHNSON is being treated in intensive care after his condition worsened yesterday, with Downing Street warning that the Prime Minister may need to be put on a ventilator as he fights off coronavirus infection.

He was transferred to an intensive care unit at around 7pm yesterday on the advice of doctors after being taken to St Thomas’ Hospital for treatment just under 24 hours earlier.

Mr Johnson was conscious on admission to intensive care, Downing Street said, and asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to stand in for him.
“Since Sunday evening, the Prime Minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus,” a spokesman said in a statement issued at 8.10pm.
“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.
“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.
“The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”

The news sparked a flood of well-wishes on social media, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeting: “My thoughts are with the PM and his family – sending him every good wish.”

The news followed mounting questions over whether Mr Johnson was well enough to continue leading the government, with Number 10 insisting he remained in overall charge of efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The Prime Minister posted on twitter at 1.20pm that he was in “good spirits and keeping in touch with my team”. But in a sign of the seriousness of his condition, Mr Raab – who chaired the daily coronavirus ‘war cabinet’ yesterday morning – admitted he had not spoken to Mr Johnson since Saturday.

It comes as the latest official figures showed 5,373 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, as of 5pm on Sunday – an increase of 439 on the previous day.

Foreign Office Minister James Duddrige appeared to call on the Prime Minister to stand back from his duties to recover, posting on twitter: “Take care boss. Get well.
Come back fighting. But for now rest, look after yourself and let the others do the heavy lifting.”

And Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries, who herself recovered from coronavirus, said many of its sufferers would be “felled” by symptoms of fatigue and fever.

At yesterday’s daily press briefing on coronavirus, Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty declined to say, under repeated questioning from journalists, whether it was appropriate for the Prime Minister to lead the government from a hospital bed.

Prof Whitty insisted he was “absolutely not going to discuss any individual patient,” and said he was not Mr Johnson’s physician.
But he later added that some patients of his were able to “handle massively complicated things from their hospital beds”.

The Prime Minister first experienced symptoms and was confirmed as having coronavirus last Thursday, with his cough and high temperature continuing for 11 days.
Having previously been described as “mild”, Downing Street said yesterday that his cough and fever were “persistent”.

Mr Raab said the Prime Minister had “a comfortable night” at St Thomas’, across the River Thames from parliament, where he was taken at around 8pm on Sunday.

The decision was made on the advice of Mr Johnson’s private doctors and was a precautionary measure to undergo tests, and not an emergency admission.

But his official spokesman did not deny reports that the Prime Minister had been given oxygen, and would not comment on whether he was being treated for pneumonia.

Coronavirus patients not being allowed visitors in hospital, but Downing Street said a ministerial red box with official papers had been delivered to the Prime Minister’s hospital bed – despite Downing Street saying Mr Johnson would “follow the advice the same as anybody else”.

A report in Russian media that the Prime Minister had already been put on a ventilator was dismissed as “fake news”.

Downing Street insisted it had been “transparent throughout” about Mr Johnson’s health, and would communicate any change in the Prime Minister’s condition to the public.

In his twitter post yesterday afternoon, Mr Johnson wrote: “I’d like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain.
“Stay safe everyone, and please remember to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

At the daily coronavirus press conference in Downing Street, Mr Raab said ministers and officials were continuing to work “full throttle” to ensure the Prime Minister’s instructions were implemented.
“He’s in charge, but he’ll continue to take doctors’ advice on what to do next,” he said.

Mr Johnson had been expected to leave isolation on Friday, with the pound trading lower on currency markets over fears about the impact that his extended absence from Number 10 could have on the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

His fiancée Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, revealed on Saturday that she was recovering after also contracting the virus.

Earlier, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said it would be “hellish” for Mr Johnson to be in hospital at the peak of the crisis.
Asked by the BBC’s Today programme whether the Prime Minister should give up control of the government to focus on his recovery, Mr Blair said: “I’m not going to second guess them on that.

He knows the state of his own condition and he will be judging it carefully himself, I’m sure.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Cabinet “hope and expect [the Prime Minister can get back to Number 10 very soon”.

Mr Jenrick told Today: “He has worked phenomenally hard, as have many people across the country. This has been a uniquely intense period and I know for him personally it will be very frustrating that he has had to go to hospital to have these tests.

“He will want to be back in No 10 leading from the front, which is his way. But he remains in charge of the government; he will be updated regularly in hospital, as he has been as he’s self-isolating.”

Meanwhile, the Labour MP for Rochdale Tony Lloyd, who served as shadow Scottish Secretary during the final months of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, has been admitted to
Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment of coronavirus.In a statement issued by the Labour Party, Mr Lloyd’s family said he was “stable and responding to the treatment and dedicated care that he is receiving from the brilliant doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.”

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