Saturday, 29 April 2017

Last full Council - in brief

As Wednesday's full council meeting was the last before the local election it should at least be mentioned, in passing. For those with a strong stomach the archive is available to watch as Meryl Gravell gave her farewell speech; fortunately Indie leader Pam Palmer, also standing down, was indisposed so we were spared further torture.

The meeting was also the last Chaired by veteran Labour councillor Eryl Morgan, who is up for election again next week. Again, the archive is available should you wish to watch as once again Cllr Morgan get his amendments muddled up with his abstentions, loses his bearings and forgets where he is on the agenda.

As if this embarrassing spectacle, played out every month, wasn't enough, Plaid's Hazel Evans, during lengthy discussion over councillors' pay (the Independent Remunerations Panel Wales recommendations), took things to a new level by proposing that the position of Chair gets an extra £500 on top of his/her £21,500 per year Civic salary. It wasn't fair, she said, that the Chair of Council got less than a £22,000 per year Scrutiny Chair.

Whether Ms Evans had read the report, or even the adopted Councillors Salary Scheme through which she, as an Exec Board member has received £29,000 plus £1700 expenses, plus pension, was not clear.

When it came to voting on the amendment, the chief executive mentioned that they were voting on a rise of £2500. There was then some awkward mumbling as it was explained that the increase had to go by the levels specified in the IRPW report, rather than just chuck an extra £500 on top

Somewhat deflated, Ms Evans persisted with the claim that she supported it as a 'matter of principle' but it took Sian Caiach to remind everyone that this really didn't look good to the watching public, even the councillors basic salary of £13,400 was more than many residents got in a year, and why were they even discussing it; the Chair had plenty of perks, including being driven round in a car and an abundance of free food.
Eventually, Ms Evans withdrew her amendment.

The position of Chair is traditionally given for long loyal service rather than having anything remotely to do with ability or merit, or even a democratic election, and each group, Labour, Plaid and Independents have taken it in turns since records began. It's the Independent Group's turn next with current Vice-Chair Irfon Jones lined up for the car and free food, pending a successful return to the Chamber next week.

The AGM, with, potentially, a few new faces, will be held on the 24th May.

1 comment:

Keanjo said...

Is there really need for 74 Councillors in Carmarthenshire ?.Surely 50 would be more than enough whoch would save over £300,000