CLLR Peter Hughes Griffiths, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire County Council has welcomed Friday's announcement that Chief Executive Mark James is standing down pending the result of a police inquiry – but condemned the "failure" of Council Leader Kevin Madge to take decisive action.

The Plaid leader claimed that, as a fortnight had passed since the Welsh Auditor published his report accusing the local authority of two accounts of "unlawful" action, the inquiry – due to be carried out by Gloucestershire Police – could potentially be compromised.

"At last, commonsense has prevailed," he said. "This confirms the seriousness of the situation and fully justifies the firm stance that Plaid Cymru has constantly taken for the past two weeks. It would have been totally improper for the Chief Executive to remain at his desk pending the outcome of the police inquiry.

"However, this development has only happened following intense pressure from Plaid and by public opinion. As Leader, Labour's Cllr Kevin Madge failed to take decisive action when the damning Welsh Audit Office reports were published a fortnight ago, and may have compromised the police inquiry by not suspending the person at the centre of the inquiry.

"The fact that Mr James is standing down for the duration of the inquiry "by mutual agreement" shows, once again, that the so-called Leader of this council was too weak to suspend him.

Cllr Madge should recognise this and stand down as Leader."