Wednesday, 7 January 2015

You know there's an election on the way...updated (again)

..when the Labour group on the council, with its prospective parliamentary candidate for Carms East and Dinefwr, Cllr Calum Higgins in mind, decide to 'veto' an over generous pay-off for Mr James.


Update 22.33 - The South Wales Guardian has provided a little more detail this evening. Out of ten possible options to get shot of Mr James (ten??), only three have been deemed viable by officers; all three involve a lot of cash.

The paper reports that the Labour group have rejected all three and have the backing of Plaid leader Cllr Emlyn Dole to only accept the 'status quo' option

'Such an option would see Mr James’ request for severance rejected, forcing him to remain in post or resign.
The advice to councillors states that Mr James could attempt to sue the council for constructive dismissal should he decide to resign, but – even if successful – any payout would be limited in law to £72,400. The average payment in constructive dismissal cases is around £7,000'

Also, as the scheme ends on the 31st March and Mr James wants his severance on the 1st April, he has until the 10th January to alter his demands and bring it in line with the authority's scheme.

It would seem that the Labour group have been told by party bosses to distance themselves from Mr James; he is a liability and he also appears to be finally losing control...

However, it would be interesting to know just how much the council has spent on employment lawyers to date...

Update 16.30 - Council leader Kevin Madge (Lab) has now put his tuppence worth in. He hasn't backed up Cllr Higgins but taken a cheap and irrelevant swipe at the Plaid group, accusing them of 'leaking' the figures and severance options to the media. An odd statement given that the only councillor to publicly discuss this so far is Cllr Higgins...

Cllr Madge said; "We have been transparent and presented the figures and options to the opposition. Figures that we had for five weeks and that Plaid had for 24 hours before leaking them to the media. I am angry and disappointed."

FIVE weeks?? Transparent? Good grief, we're they ever going to tell anyone?)


Today's South Wales Guardian, with lengthy quotes from Cllr Higgins, confirms rumours that after several years of happily pandering to Mark James' every outrageous and unlawful whim, the Labour group will now block any attempt to pay him his desired 'golden goodbye'.

Gearing up for the election on May 7th, they have finally realised that this issue is in the forefront of the minds of the Carmarthenshire electorate.
Whatever their logic, the stance is of course welcome.

Plaid Cymru politicians Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM have both called the prospective £446k pay off a disgrace in a statement on Mr Edwards' website. They have often been at loggerheads with Mr James and have been consistent with their remarks made last year that his departure shouldn't cost the taxpayers a penny, let alone £446,000. The BBC and Carmarthen Journal both report on the issue.

The editor of the SW Guardian sums up the situation in his opinion piece;

"...his reign will ultimately be remembered for libel actions, pension deals, Wales Audit Office condemnation and one of the most unpleasant, unproductive atmospheres ever witnessed at County Hall.
The council's leadership claim they are seeking to turn over a new leaf. That cannot happen while Mr James remains in post..."

The devil is going to be in the detail and some of those details emerged yesterday. Whatever happens, Mr James needs to go....and preferably in the back of a police car.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a disgraceful fiasco created by Mark James and the ruling administration in Carmarthen council.It is of no use to accuse these dreadful people of having no integrity or shame.There has never been any.It will be interesting to see what happens when Mark James eventually heads off I hope into the sunset.Will they all
try and put the blame on his autocratic rule.We shall see.