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Bryn: How did your councillor vote?

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brynCOUNCILLORS voted yesterday to take no further action to reclaim money paid to chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones under a pension arrangement declared unlawful by the Wales Audit Office.

Before the vote, Cllr Peter Stock told the Herald: “It should be open and accountable, that’s the most important thing. The general public are so interested in what’s happening in Pembrokeshire at the moment, and I don’t believe anything should be done behind closed doors. I do believe that anything that does happen in County Council must be open, and the general public must be aware of the situation and Pembrokeshire County Council must be at all times open to the public for them to see which way this Authority is really being run. These things are happening, at a regular period, and it has to stop.”

The recorded vote of yesterday’s debate on reclaiming Bryn Parry Jones’ pension was taken in three parts.

The first – and key – vote was whether the discussion should be held in secret with members of the public excluded and the webcast suspended.

Voting in favour of secrecy were councillors:

Jamie Adams, John Allen-Mirehouse, Daphne Bush, David Edwards, Wynne Evans, Lyndon Frayling, Huw George, Brian Hall, Simon Hancock, Paul Harries, Umelda Havard, David James, Michael John, Stephen Joseph, Keith Lewis, Rob Lewis, Pearl Llewellyn, Peter Morgan, Elwyn Morse, David Neale, Myles Pepper, Sue Perkins, David Pugh, David Rees, Tom Richards, Ken Rowlands, David Simpson, Rob Summons, Arwyn Williams, and Steve Yelland (all IPPG)

They were supported by unaffiliated Councillors Owen James, Phil Kidney and Conservative councillor Stan Hudson

Voting to allow the public to witness the debate about public money were councillors:

Phil Baker, Roderick Bowen, Tony Brinsden, David Bryan, Pat Davies, Tessa Hodgson, David Howlett, Lyn Jenkins, Bob Kilmister, Alison Lee, David Lloyd, Paul Miller, Jonathan Nutting, Gwilym Price, Rhys Sinnett, Peter Stock, Mike Stoddart, Viv Stoddart, Tom Tudor, Tony Wilcox, Jacob Williams, Mike Williams, and Guy Woodham

Councillor Reg Owens abstained. Councillors John Davies, Mike Evans and Jonathan Preston were absent from the meeting.

The main motion was proposed by Councillors Roderick Bowen, Paul Miller, Mike Stoddart, Tony Wilcox, and Jacob Williams “That council approve action to investigate the recovery of any monies paid under the scheme for senior officers approved at the senior staff committee on 28th September 2011 under agenda item 6.”

That item was subject to an amendment proposed by Plaid Cymru that proposed taking no further action but instead registering an expression of regret at the situation.

An alternative motion proposed by IPPG leader Jamie Adams proposed that no further action be taken at all.

The vote on the Plaid amendment was as follows:

For the amendment: Phil Baker, Roderick Bowen, Tony Brinsden, David Bryan, Paul Harries, Tessa Hodgson, David Howlett, Stan Hudson, Owen James, Lyn Jenkins, Michael John, Stephen Joseph, Bob Kilmister, David Lloyd, Jonathan Nutting, Reg Owens, Rhys Sinnett, Peter Stock, Mike Stoddart, Vivien Stoddart, Jacob Williams, Mike Williams

Against the amendment: Jamie Adams, John Allen-Mirehouse, Daphne Bush, David Edwards, Wynne Evans, Lyndon Frayling, Huw George, Brian Hall, Umelda Havard, David James, , Keith Lewis, Rob Lewis, Pearl Llewellyn, Peter Morgan, Elwyn Morse, David Neale, Myles Pepper, Sue Perkins, David Pugh, David Rees, Tom Richards, Ken Rowlands, David Simpson, Rob Summons, Arwyn Williams, and Steve Yelland (all IPPG);  Pat Davies, Alison Lee, David Lloyd, Paul Miller, Gwilym Price, Tom Tudor, Tony Wilcox, Guy Woodham (all Labour) & Phil Kidney (unaffiliated)

Voting in favour of IPPG Leader’s Jamie Adams’ amendment were:

Jamie Adams, John Allen-Mirehouse, Daphne Bush, David Edwards, Wynne Evans, Lyndon Frayling, Huw George, Brian Hall, Simon Hancock, Paul Harries, Umelda Havard, David James, Lyn Jenkins, Michael John, Keith Lewis, Rob Lewis, Pearl Llewellyn, Peter Morgan, Elwyn Morse, David Neale, Myles Pepper, Sue Perkins, David Pugh, David Rees, Tom Richards, Ken Rowlands, David Simpson, Rob Summons, Arwyn Williams, and Steve Yelland (all IPPG)

They were joined by unaffiliated Councillors Owen James, Phil Kidney and Conservative Councillor Stan Hudson

Voting against the IPPG amendment to do nothing were:

Phil Baker, Roderick Bowen, Pat Davies, Tessa Hodgson, David Howlett, Stephen Joseph, Bob Kilmister, Alison Lee, David Lloyd, Paul Miller,  Jonathan Nutting, Gwilym Price, Rhys Sinnett, Peter Stock, Mike Stoddart, Vivien Stoddart, Tom Tudor, Jacob Williams, Mike Williams, Tony Wilcox, Guy Woodham

Councillors Tony Brinsden, David Bryan, David Howlett, Stephen Joseph, and Reg Owens abstained

There were sharp recriminations after the meeting.

Conservative group leader David Howlett told the Herald:

“With David Bryan, I voted for a public debate which was lost and so we went into private session. We supported a Plaid amendment that it would be foolish to pursue court action due to costs but expressed regret that the money was not being returned.

“Some IPPG members supported this and had Labour members also supported it, we would have won. Because Labour did not support the Plaid amendment, we had another vote to take no further action, from which I abstained.

“Labour’s stance meant the end result was no further action would be taken. I have to ask whether (Labour leader) Paul Miller sees this as a result, because that is what he and his group made sure happened.”

Labour leader Paul Miller responded:

Labour leader Paul Miller told us:

“On principle, the Labour group decided not to accept anything less than the Chief Executive being forced to pay back the money unlawfully paid to him.

“The vote today is not the end of the matter and I still firmly believe that the Council must take action to get the money back.”

Commenting on the debate, Cllr David Howlett, Leader of the Conservative Group on Pembrokeshire County Council said “I believe in transparency and openness so I voted for the debate to be held in public. Unfortunately that vote was lost so the debate was held in private.”

“During the debate that was held in private, many opposition Councillors voiced concern that given any legal action was not guaranteed to succeed, pursuing this would not be sensible given the costs that would be incurred could be substantial. This was a view I shared, and I voted in favour of an amendment supported by the majority of opposition parties that while a line should be drawn under this matter it was with regret that the monies had not been repaid by the two senior officers. This vote was lost by 34 votes to 23 due to the fact that the Cllr Paul Miller and his Labour group voted against this. This lost vote meant that we then voted on a proposal from the Leader, Cllr Jamie Adams that simply no further action would be taken, without any additional comment or regret at what had happened. I could not support this bland proposal.”

“Again the Labour group voted against this. I find the voting strategy of the Labour group under the Leadership of Cllr Paul Miller bizarre and naive. Had Cllr Miller come up with a proposal I would have considered the merit of it.  However to come up with nothing, vote against everything and complain about the turn of events shows inexperience. Had the Labour group voted for the amendment that was supported by the vast majority of opposition Councillors, we would have emerged with a far stronger statement. They didn’t and the actions of the Labour Group have resulted in an unsatisfactory outcome in my view.”

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. john

    July 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Where does this leave the Council with regard to its contract of employment with the CEO?

    It determined not to pay a salary including an equivalent employer’s S&P Contribution. No such contribution is now being made by the Council.

    Are these equivalent payments actually being made as salary payments, but cannot appear in the Accounts as they are contrary to law as the Council has accepted?

  2. Archie

    July 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Pembrokeshire Council and in particular the CEO and the IPG are a law unto themselves. The losers are the people of Pembrokeshire.

  3. Reg

    July 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I’m sorry but the Tory leader wanted to pass a motion that “expressed regret?” That is utter nonsense. This is now a matter that requires leadership and the only person I can see providing it is Cllr Miller. If we let this go then the hierarchy at the council will simply continue to do whatever they want and take us all for fools.

  4. PJ

    July 18, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Sorry ‘Reg’ what ‘leadership’ is that you say is coming from Cllr Paul Miller? Where does it say in here that Cllr Miller proposed a vote during the meeting that the chief exec should be sued by the council to get the money back off him?

    Unless you were at the meeting (there is a councillor called Reg, is it you?) and you know for a fact that Cllr Miller tried to get a vote on court action, then it doesn’t look like he did do that from this report.

    You lot grumbling about cllrs letting these officers off the hook is ridiculous…the ONLY way of getting the money back is through the court and to go to court the legal costs would be many many multiples of the actual sum being recovered. AND there is probably worse odds than 50/50 that a court would agree. You need to see the bigger picture. Bryns screwed us all, he always does, but this time it was regrettably the only thing that could be done.

    Interesting that Cllr Miller told the herald “this is not the end of the matter”…I wonder what he’s got up his sleeve. He would HAVE to show some strong leadership if hes to get Bryn to repay the money without a court order. If he does achieve it then I take it all back – he should lead the UK!

  5. Alan Jowett

    July 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Oh dear.
    I hear the sound of councillors I know quietly losing their seats.

  6. Dysgwr_Cymraeg

    July 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Well folks, take a look at how they voted, you\’ll get your chance come the next election.A true Whithall Farce.

  7. Paul Hill

    July 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Shame onyou IPPG, hope you can live with that and look the good people of Pembrokeshire in the eye…

  8. michael williams

    July 22, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I note the recent correspondence regarding the CEOs pension arrangements. It was indeed dissapionting that the Labour group voted against the Plaid amendment. It was the only alternative put forward to the motion of the IPG which wouldnt have even expressed a consern or indeed disgust. Where was Cllr Miller, why didnt he put forward his own ammendment?The reason for my amendment was the potential cost to our taxpayers, as the only way to finally clarify the different legal opinions of the Wales Audit Office and the CEOs lawyer would be to test it in the High Court at a cost of many tens of thousands. To support it would have been the fist time that we members outside the controlling group had ever laid a glove in the CEO, and I believe hastened his departure. Once again we were let down by the Labour group. Its time Cllr Miller put the taxpayers of Pembrokeshire before his own political ambitions.

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