PETER Hughes Griffiths, the leader of the Plaid Cymru Opposition Group on Carmarthenshire County Council, has revealed members will be meeting on Monday to discuss presenting motions of no confidence in three members of the Council’s Executive Board (Leader Kevin Madge, former Leader Meryl Gravell and Deputy Leader Pam Palmer).
The Plaid group will also be discussing no confidence motions in two of the authority most senior officials – Chief Executive Mark James and Linda Rees-Jones, the Head of Administration and Law.
The no confidence calls follow two damaging Wales Audit Office reports which state the council acted unlawfully in relation to a libel indemnity and pension arrangements for Mr James.
The reports are highly critical of the way in which information was presented by senior council officers to the Executive Board, and how members of the Executive Board took decisions to spend tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money without sufficient information.
Cllr Hughes Griffiths strongly criticised the Labour Leader of the Council, Cllr Kevin Madge, for his "complete lack of leadership" , claiming that he should have at the very least suspended the council officers pending further investigation.
“It is imperative that these two extremely damaging reports are discussed as a matter of urgency," said Cllr Hughes-Griffiths. "Carmarthenshire residents deserve answers and the council group I lead is not prepared to wait.
“We cannot go into a meeting to discuss the authority’s budget next month when we have no confidence in the political leadership and some of the council’s senior staff.
“Carmarthenshire Council has been bereft of political leadership which has sadly continued since the publication of these reports. It appears that every member of the Executive Board has gone into hiding and not taken an ounce of responsibility for their actions.
“If I was leading this authority I would have at the very least suspended senior officers pending further investigation. It is the bare minimum which should be done given the seriousness of the Auditor’s findings. Furthermore, if I was responsible for spending tens of thousands of pounds unlawfully, I would do the honourable thing and stand down.
“The opposition group will meet on Monday evening to discuss presenting motions of no confidence against three Executive Board members and two senior officers. There is overwhelming evidence from the Wales Audit Office to say that these people cannot continue in their posts.
“An extraordinary meeting must be held. The people of Carmarthenshire will rightly expect their local councillor – irrespective of political party – to agree to this without hesitation."