Future of council leader hangs in balance
6:00am Wednesday 26th February 2014 in News
The political future of Carmarthenshire county council leader Kevin Madge hangs in the balance with the Garnant councillor facing a vote of no confidence at County Hall on Thursday (February 27) after 35 years in local government.
Cllr Madge, along with former leader Meryl Gravell and current deputy leader Pam Palmer, has come under the spotlight for approving a pension “pay supplement” and a libel indemnity for council chief executive Mark James.
All three councillors were members of the council’s executive board when the decisions, identified as “unlawful” by the Wales Audit Office, were approved.
Last week, Mr James “stepped aside” from his role for the duration of a police investigation into the payments.
No confidence motions in all three councillors, submitted by the county’s Plaid Cymru opposition group, will go to the vote at the extraordinary meeting tomorrow.
In a scathing attack on County Hall’s senior figures, Plaid’s Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards – who instigated the police investigation – urged all backbench councillors “to do the right thing” in a bid to restore confidence in the beleaguered council.
“The has been a dark cloud over Carmarthenshire Council for far too long, with a ruling cabal of senior officers and executive board who are clearly completely out of control,” he said.
“It has taken the intervention of the Wales Audit Office to get to where we are. But even now, the tactic of Labour and Independent councillors has been to undermine the integrity of the Audit Office and launch personal attacks on opposition politicians.
“I call on backbench councillors of all groups to vote with their conscience on Thursday. It is their elected duty to stand up for the people of the county and restore public confidence in County Hall.
"The people will be watching closely. There will be no hiding place for those councillors that vote to ignore public sentiment and keep the old regime in place."