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Badger and the pay-off

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brynWELL, readers, what do you think of that? The Investigatory Committee into Bryn has met to no great effect and now it emerges that all along Jamie Adams has been beavering away in the background to settle up with Bryn. We can safely assume that Cllr Peter Morgan’s brief engagement with the truth is not likely to be repeated; after all, it wasn’t before the Investigatory Committee. Peter didn’t even have the good grace to knife David Simpson in the back: He did so in the front, knowing that the terms of his betrayal could not be fully reported. David Simpson laid down his cabinet position for Peter Morgan.

When it came down to the test of friendship, Peter Morgan laid down his honor. That is not to say that the line of questioning that led to that point was at all relevant to the committee’s terms of reference. The Committee had to determine whether allegations particularised were worthy of investigation by a designated independent person (a Q.C., in this case). They did not have to express an opinion, only assess whether the information they had was sufficient to shuffle it off to a third party to decide. The question the committee had to resolve was not whether pressure was applied to Peter Morgan – we already have enough evidence to suggest it was – but whether the tirade directed against him and Mark Edwards reported exclusively in this newspaper were sufficient to be investigated by a third party.

Any lawyer knows that it is not only enough to ask only questions to which you know the answer, but to ask them only when you have a very good idea about the answer you will get. Unless you are certain that a witness will approximately respond as you expect, asking questions is a very risky business. But even then, Peter Morgan’s macho words to the committee about ‘not doing pressure’ amount to nothing. They neither add nor subtract from the strength of his testimony in relation to Bryn Parry-Jones. Let’s boil it down to the essential elements, readers. It was confi rmed that Bryn had sworn at two councillors because of the way they voted. It is implicit in Bryn’s action that he expected ‘loyalty’ to him from them and that they should do and vote in accordance with his wishes.

Arguments within the committee that the above was not enough – ON ITS OWN – to refer the matter are self evidently cods wallop. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Equally too many people who have more than one agenda spouting irrelevancies and asking too many of the wrong questions produces a mess. Keep it simple, stupid, is a good method to adopt when approaching a diffi cult decision. Then the committee were faced with Bryn’s refusal to attend for questioning. He claimed he had not had enough time to consider the allegations. The amount of irrefutable material in the public domain – largely placed there by this newspaper, Jacob Williams and Old Grumpy – has apparently escaped Bryn’s attention since his long vacation began.

The key allegation was in this paper on the day he ‘took a period of absence’ in mid-August. It is now October. Either Mr Parry-Jones is a very slow reader indeed, or he was counting on the committee backing down. To Badger, the committee seems to have taken a pragmatic course of action. It is better to reach a position in which the effect of suspension can be achieved without confrontation than to engage in grandstanding for other purposes. Just because he is unpopular, divisive, overpaid, over-powerful, overbearing and the worst manifestation of the culture of secrecy and self-interest that has consumed Pembrokeshire’s local government, does not mean that Bryn Parry-Jones has no contractual rights and a complex statutory regime underpinning his appointment.

In light of that, readers, anyone with any ounce of common sense must know that it is far more likely than not that this matter will be resolved by some form of agreement between the parties. That is not to say that Badger agrees that an agreement is the best route, but it is simply the most likely to be cost-effective in the short and medium term. With the cameras probably off when any settlement is discussed at next week’s full council, Badger suspects that, denied an audience, those inclined to spout most effusively when the public is present and the camera is on will restrain themselves and keep it brief.

You can have all the principles you want, as long as you are prepared to pay the price of pursuing them, readers. Q.C.’s ain’t cheap: Look at the bill from the barrister engaged to defend the council’s unlawful payments to Bryn Parry-Jones. One Kerr by name, he was, and his bill was a very tasty five figure sum. Is it worth spending the same again, readers, in order to drag on the uncertainty and back-biting about the Chief Executive’s role? The only other ground that occurs to Badger upon which the chief could be removed is following a finding that an irredeemable breakdown in mutual trust and confidence had taken place between Bryn Parry-Jones and his employer, or vice versa. In those circumstances, he could be dismissed on notice.

If the designated person is appointed, conducts an investigation, and concludes that the necessary relationship between employer and employee has irretrievably broken down, then poor Bryn will have to wait for his pension pay out and be paid off with three months’ salary in lieu of notice. Having opted out of the Local Government Pension Scheme, Bryn would not be able to draw down his pension straight away. He would need the council’s permission. Oh the irony, readers! Let’s hope that the council’s negotiators have that card in mind, when it comes to working out the risks of simply proceeding with the investigatory process. T h e calculation of risk is what is important h e r e , readers. There are risks on both sides, and for the soon to be former Chief Executive, whatever happens, the economic and reputational risks for him should cause the council to drive a hard bargain. Otherwise, it is time for Bryn to take his chances.

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Funding secured for volunteering support at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home

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PAUL SARTORI Hospice at Home, a Pembrokeshire-based charity, is delighted to announce that they were recently awarded £29,814.00 by the Pembrokeshire County Council Enhancing Pembrokeshire Scheme. The charity has been awarded a grant to develop the “We Care: Volunteering Support” project, which will improve the volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community.

The project will combat issues around Second Home ownership by increasing community engagement and opportunities to connect people through training, open days, new social events and wider community outreach and communication. The first phase of the project has been completed with the successful recruitment of Eleanor Evans, the We Care: Project Officer. Eleanor joins this part of the charity, on a secondment basis, and brings a wealth of
experience, not only within the charity but also working with volunteers throughout the county.

The charity has experienced challenges over the last 12 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new project will enhance the existing volunteer structure within the charity, develop incentives to increase volunteer engagement; support volunteers by providing increased training opportunities and develop a new social culture to decrease loneliness and isolation. Recognising that the pandemic has been a difficult time for many, improving and increasing community communication will also be a key aim.

Furthermore, the Sartori Stores throughout Pembrokeshire, have been through a difficult year, closing, opening and closing again. Most volunteers have gracefully assisted the charity, often at the drop of a hat, to open the stores.

Unfortunately, the charity has witnessed a decrease in the number of available volunteers to help, due to the pandemic. So therefore, another key objective will be to recruit and train more volunteers to assist in generating vital income and supporting areas within the clinical services.

“I am very excited to join this area of the charity and am looking forward to this new role. Having worked within the retail sector previously, I know how a lack of volunteers within a store can have a detrimental effect on the opening days and times. This will be where I will be concentrating my recruitment efforts on initially,” stated Eleanor Evans, We: Care Project Officer.

“Here at Paul Sartori we work hard to deliver a rewarding volunteer experience – we
ensure that adequate training is given to all volunteers. Our managers provide training and invest time with our volunteers to ensure they have the skills to work in many areas across the charity. Our stores can be a very busy, fast-paced environment, which offers a great opportunity for the environmentally conscious individual who wishes to help out a local charity selling pre-loved goods,” added Eleanor.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said the Council were pleased to support Paul Sartori deliver their We Care: Volunteering Support project.

“This project will add to the wide range of essential services Paul Sartori already provide to people in Pembrokeshire, improve their volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community,” he said.

“This is such a difficult time for charities and local organisations to maintain their services and volunteer activities and it is important to support them to strengthen their volunteer base, especially at this time when Covid is increasing the incidence of isolation and loneliness.”

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, using funds raised via the Second Homes Tax is available to provide funding for new projects that help address the negative impact of second homes and in doing so adds value to our communities.

“This grant has come at a good time for the charity. Assisting our valued volunteers; recruiting more active volunteers and investing more in our existing training programme will ensure that the charity is financially sustained for many years to come,” said Judith Williams, Grants Coordinator at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home provides a range of services to Pembrokeshire people living in the final stages of a life-limiting illness, including home nursing care, equipment loan, complementary therapy, bereavement and counselling support, under 18’s anticipatory grief and bereavement support, physiotherapy, advance care planning and training.

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish. All of the services are free of charge and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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Police at scene of RTC – officers seeking witnesses

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POLICE in Milford Haven are making door to door enquiries in the Great North Road area following an accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.

It is understood that CCTV in the area was not pointing in the right direction so police are appealing for help with the case.

There is still a large police presence in the area as of 11.20am this morning (Feb 26).

MORE TO FOLLOW…

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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