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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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Permit applications open for Tenby pedestrianisation scheme

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is now accepting applications for vehicle access during this year’s Pedestrianisation of Tenby.

The scheme, which is due to start on Monday, July 5 and conclude on Friday, September 10, will again see the walled town divided into three ‘zones’, each having varying degrees of vehicle access.

Whilst all necessary plans are being put in place for it to start and finish on the above dates, the scheme will remain under constant review in light of Government guidance relating to Covid-19, and the Council will provide any updates as necessary.

Possession of an ‘access permit’ does not provide any exemption from Government restrictions, and any regulations relating to travel and the occupation of holiday accommodation or second homes must be observed at all times.

Following the success of last year, the permit application process will continue online, with paper application forms and guidance notes no longer being delivered to residents and businesses.

The application form and guidance notes are available from pembrokeshire.gov.uk/tenby-pedestrianisation

Residents and business within Tenby are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible, to ensure that there is sufficient time for the application to be processed.

Permits will be issued approximately 7-10 days prior to the start of the scheme.

For enquiries, e-mail tenby.pedestrian@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Join the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel as an independent member

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THE Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel is looking for two members to join them in their work to support and challenge the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Panel is made of up of members nominated by Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys county councils along with at least two independent members.

Opportunities have now arisen for two independent members to join the Panel and carry out key statutory roles that will support the Commissioner exercise his role effectively.

Members will be expected to attend and take part in regular meetings and take part in decision making, creating reports and making recommendations to the Commissioner.

They will review the Commissioner’s annual draft Police and Crime Plan and annual draft budget, review and scrutinise his decisions and actions, and if necessary review the proposed appointment or removal of the Chief Constable and other senior police force appointments.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they can take a balanced and objective approach in supporting the Panel and the Commissioner, make strategic and well-informed decisions, and interpret and question financial, statistical and performance related information.

They will also need to be able to act as a ‘critical friend’, challenging views or proposals for change constructively.

Applications close on May 31, and appointments to the Panel will be made until October 31, 2024. 

For further information, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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Successful Fire Service and Health Board partnership to enhance COVID-19 vaccine roll out comes to end

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TUESDAY 11 May 2021 marked the end of a hugely successful partnership between Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Hywel Dda University Health Board, initiated to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to the communities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Since February, Community Safety Staff from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have transported 125 passengers over 9450 miles to ensure they were able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Recognising the configuration of our Service, the areas we cover and indeed the people we employee, this seemed an ideal opportunity for us to widen our response to the pandemic and support our partners in safeguarding our communities.

“Whilst we already collaborate with the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, this opportunity enabled us to expand our assistance further within the health arena. This partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board was the first of its kind for Fire and Rescue Services in Wales and paved the way for a number of similar partnerships for us and the other Fire and Rescue Services in Wales.

“I am extremely proud of our staff who have participated in this collaboration and have made a huge difference to the lives of so many people. Their contribution has without doubt had a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic”.

Mydrian Harries, Corporate Head of Prevention and Protection for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, coordinated the Service’s response to this call for assistance.

“Our communities are at the heart of our core business. Knowing we were in a position to make an impact, we put in place a robust solution in record time, to not only ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, but to also safeguard those who were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, but may have had barriers preventing them from attending their appointments.

“Using this partnership as template within which we could expand, we have since been able to offer our assistance to other Health Boards across the Service area. Indeed, a group of 10 vaccine heroes from our Service have joined Powys Teaching Health Board’s vaccination team, playing their part in distributing vaccines at mass vaccination sites in Newtown and Builth Wells. This is another fantastic example of how working together has been vital in our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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