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Badger treads Caerphilly

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badger_2087377bJAMIE ADAMS, ‘popular’ leader of the IPPG, took to the Western Telegraph this week to deride those councillors seeking to examine the Staff Remuneration Committee’s decision to give Bryn Parry Jones a wodge of Council Tax payers’ cash rather than pay tax on his blue chip pension.
Councillor Adams, who is known to have difficulty remembering when to submit his expenses claims, pronounced confidently on the complex legal issues involved.
Unfortunately, the IPPG’s leader appears to be ignorant of what the Wales Audit Office (WAO) decided in Caerphilly. That Council was subject to a Public Interest Report by the WAO following a probe into payments made to senior officers. It is not suggested that there is any evidence of criminality in the decision made by Pembrokeshire County Council’s own remuneration committee, but elements of the decision-making process seem remarkably similar.
In Caerphilly, Councillors attended a meeting – at which officers were present – and during which officers’ pay and conditions were discussed.
In Pembrokeshire’s case, Councillors attended a meeting – at which officers were present – and during which officers’ pay and conditions were discussed.
In Caerphilly, the officers did not declare an interest and leave the meeting while their pay and conditions were discussed.
In Pembrokeshire, the officers did not declare an interest and leave the meeting while their pay and conditions were discussed.
Of course, one big difference exists:
In Caerphilly’s case, the Council had additional and external guidance to assist Councillors. Pembrokeshire did not. Councillors in Pembrokeshire relied upon an internal guidance prepared by an officer who potentially stood to benefit from the outcome of the Councillors’ decisions.
But even the presence of the independent report did not save Caerphilly Council from the auditor ruling the conduct of the relevant meeting unlawful.
As Jamie Adams appears to be of the opinion that he – and not the auditors – is best placed to determine the lawfulness of the decision-making process, Badger –produces the relevant section of the Auditors’ report on Caerphilly so Jamie Adams can take the time to read and try to understand it:
“Certain officers who were among the beneficiaries of the decision were present throughout the Committee meeting on September 5 2012, and no declarations of interest were made. In addition, the report presented to the Committee was authored by the Chief Executive.
“A person is disqualified from participation in a decision-making process if there is a real possibility that he or she would be influenced by a pecuniary or personal interest in the outcome of the decision as established by case law. Such an interest has to be declared. Individuals having such an interest are not entitled to participate in the decision-making process unless the interest is too remote or insignificant to matter. As such, we would have expected:
* officers to have declared an interest in the proceedings;
* officers to have left the meeting whilst the members of the Committee discussed the recommendations in the Chief Executive’s report and reached their decision;
and
* the members of the Committee to have approved the terms of reference for the independent advice commissioned into remuneration (AS A MINIMUM –emphases added – in respect of the Chief Executive’s pay).
“… In my view, the participation of these officers in the decision-making process renders the decision of the Committee ultra vires and therefore unlawful, on this further ground.”
Badger is a bit stumped as to how Jamie squares this circle.
As Bryn and the other officers were present, Jamie Adams’ bold assertion in the Telegraph that “the legality of the meeting is not in question” as the officers were “not part of the decision-making process” seems to try and draw a distinction where there is no difference. Council members’ own guidance unequivocally states that the presence of those with an interest in the outcome of meeting – whether they speak or not – is deemed to influence its outcome. How reassuring it must be to Bryn the Merciless to discover that Councillors are accustomed to ignoring him!
If Sunny Jamie and his IPPG cohorts have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear from scrutiny. Instead they are running scared of giving Councillors the advice upon which they state they rely when making assertions of lawfulness and proper process.
When it is the conduct of Jamie Adams and his motley crew which is in question, the public have a need to know and a right to know.
Jamie Adams’ attack on the motives of Labour leader Paul Miller is a crass attempt to deflect criticism and play the man and not the ball. As a transparent and squalid attempt to smear a fellow Councillor, Jamie Adams’ comments are beneath contempt.
Badger asks his readers: why should the people of Pembrokeshire, let alone their representatives, put faith in Councillor Adams’ judgement or that of his discredited administration?

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Man, 22, charged with murder of John William Bell in Cardigan

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A CARDIGAN man has been charged with murder after a man’s death in Ceredigion.

John Bell, 37, and also from the town, was found on the road to Cardigan Bridge in the early hours of Wednesday.

Dyfed-Powys Police said 22-year-old Ashley Keegan, of Golwg y Castell, Cardigan, has been charged with his murder.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that Ashley Keegan, aged 22, of Golwg y Castell, Cardigan, has been charged with the murder of John William Bell.

Victim: John Bell

“Keegan will appear at Swansea magistrates court on Saturday 24th July 2021.

“John’s family continue to be supported by specialist officers and the investigation is grateful for the support of the community whilst enquiries were conducted.”

This is the second major incident in the same area this month.

Another man was charged with making threats with a knife, he is again from Golwg y Castell.

Dyfed-Powys Police said they received a number of calls reporting a man brandishing a knife towards another man in Maesyfelin, Cardigan, at around 4.20pm on Wednesday (July 14).

Several police units swiftly made their way to the area, but the suspect had fled.

Dean Thomas, aged 25, was quickly located at his home in Golwg y Castell, where he was arrested on suspicion of affray and taken to custody.

Mobile phone footage was gathered from people at the scene, and statements were taken from witnesses.

Cardigan Inspector Owen Williams said: “Thanks to the swift attendance of officers, there were a number of people present who were able to provide evidence to assist with our enquiries.
“Thomas also made a significant statement linking himself with the incident, and was charged within hours of being arrested.

“I hope the speed with which we carried out enquiries into this incident reassures people living in Maesyfelin, who were naturally very concerned by what had happened.”

Thomas was charged with threatening a person with a blade or sharply pointed article in a public place and appeared at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, July 15 where he admitted the offence.

He will be sentenced on July 29 at Swansea Crown Court.

In relation to the murder, anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101 and quoting Op Reedham. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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‘Plan ahead this summer’, says Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE FOLLOWING is a message from the Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr David Simpson:

Hello everyone, I hope you are well and enjoying this lovely weather.

My key message this week is about planning ahead.

This week we have experienced very hot and sunny days and beaches have been full and everyone is enjoying the outdoors.

We are experiencing a high volume of visitors to the county which can at times add additional pressures on our services.

This week, for example, we have seen high demand for car parking spaces, beach clean ups, litter picking and toilet cleaning.

Due to the high footfall please consider where you are going and what you will do when you are there. Some coastal car parks on nice sunny days are filing by mid-morning.

We all also need to be patient when out and about. We are all working together to move forward after the lockdowns, businesses still have to work differently and some are struggling with staff shortages, so please be patient.

As many of us will be staying local for our time off why not consider doing a ‘not visited yet list’.

Consider places in Pembrokeshire you have not explored but would like to – make this the year you go to those places you have always wanted to go to but not had a chance.

Our front line teams are working hard to support our communities and ensure we deliver key services. I would ask for your support to help us to keep Pembrokeshire open and welcoming to all.

I’m aware of issues reported to us regarding litter being left on beaches and grass verges. Leaving litter behind is not acceptable – we have adequate litter bins out and about. Please help us keep Pembrokeshire clean.

Another issue being reported to us is fires being lit in the countryside and beauty spots while people eat and drink in the warm weather.

It goes without saying how dangerous a fire could be given the exceptionally dry weather we have had recently.

If you are thinking about lighting a fire while you are out I would just appeal to you to please think again. The potential consequences are just not worth it.

As you will know, this week we have had an Amber weather warning for heat, so just a gentle reminder to take care when out and about and please take care of your pets.

Our furry friends need extra attention in the heat. Please do not leave dogs unattended in cars and remember the walkways will be hot on their feet.

I’d like to finish this week by thanking everyone involved in our education teams and wish them all a well-deserved summer break.

I hope all our children enjoy the summer – the weather is definitely helping!

Stay safe everyone.

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Devastated family’s tribute to ‘loving and devoted’ son

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THE FAMILY of the 37-year-old man who died in Cardigan in the early hours of Wednesday morning (Jul 21) have said he will be “hugely missed by all that loved him”.

John Bell, who lived in the town, was found on the road to Cardigan Bridge at around midnight.

His family has issued this statement: “We are devastated at the loss of John.

“He was a loving and devoted Son, Brother, Father and Uncle and he will be hugely missed by all that loved him. 

“We ask for privacy at this time.”

John’s family is being supported by specially trained officers.

A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in police custody.

Detective Superintendent Paul Jones said: “Our thoughts go out to John’s family at this very difficult time.

“We are currently focussing our investigation in Golwg Y Castell and the road between there and Cardigan Bridge, where Mr Bell was located.

“We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen or heard an altercation in that area during the evening of Tuesday, 20 July, particularly the latter part of the evening, after 10pm, before police attended at around midnight.”

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org. Quote reference: DP-20210720-458.

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