Monday, 6 February 2012

The dark corners of County Hall....

Meanwhile...soldiering on....

I noticed that the Council's response to my FoI request for 'Details of Officers Expenses', initially made on the 19th December 2011, was running two weeks late so I sent a gentle reminder. Lo and behold, a response materialises. It was a refusal, including a refusal to detail the fees and expenses claimed by the Returning Officer.
The rather contrived reasons given for refusal appear to be the time and cost of responding, exceeded the limit allowed. The response is tortuous to say the least and the upshot of the whole thing appears to be that a) there are too many claims to track and, b) most of the claims are written on little bits of paper and stuffed into the various dark crevices of County Hall. At best, it's a muddle. The next course of action is to request a pointless internal appeal, a necessary step prior to reporting the matter to the Information Commissioner, including the lateness of the response. I'm not sure I have the will. I wonder if I could add it to my previous complaints already lodged with the ICO?

The 'filming council meetings' debate continues and I see today that Pembrokeshire County Council have decided to webcast meetings - great news.
Further to my previous post - 'Council abandon unlawful filming undertaking'  Carmarthenshire council has been tying itself in knots over it all, issuing a press release on their website and even commenting on my blog, or "blogsite" as they call it. 
The Assembly Petitions Committee meets tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Senedd and will be discussing my 'filming' and 'spending details over £500' petitions with the Minister of Local Government - I won't speculate as to the outcome but I shall be watching on Senedd TV at around 10.30 with great interest and reporting on any decisions made afterwards. It remains to be seen how many councils will eventually see the filming of their meetings as a measure of transparency rather than an invasion of privacy.
I sincerely hope that Carmarthenshire Council decide to webcast meetings because the argument that they can't afford it has recently been somewhat disproved, let's hope this 84 year old widow gets her disabled shower soon too.

I am unable to attend the meeting in Cardiff tomorrow but I am sure that the folk in County Hall, Carmarthen will be delighted to know I shall be in the public gallery on Wednesday at 10am for what promises to be a very interesting meeting. I think there'll be quite a turn out.
Fortunately most of us these days have a mobile phone...with which to Tweet, of course.

For information; Y Cneifiwr has been busy blogging and recently set up a poll.
And I've just noticed this tweet from my AM, Rhodri Glyn Thomas;
"@RhodriGlynPlaid Will be questioning Local Government Minister on Wednesday [8th] regarding Carmarthenshire Council's funding of Chief Exec libel court costs."

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