CARMARTHENSHIRE county council leader Kevin Madge has hit back at criticism that councillors have not been kept informed or been allowed to raise issues for discussion at council meetings regarding the council’s difference of opinion with the Wales Audit Office.

After auditors ruled two transactions involving chief executive Mark James to be 'unlawful' AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas went on the offensive, claiming council decisions were being made behind closed doors with very little opportunity for opposition councillors to challenge or discuss them.

But Cllr Madge said he had already made it clear in an email to Plaid Cymru leader Peter Hughes-Griffiths that he would keep members informed following a scheduled meeting with the Wales Audit Office next week.

"I am very happy for these matters to be debated and I will ensure that there is a full report on the issues concerned at the next meeting of council in November, by which time I hope that the difference of legal opinion might be resolved and that the situation will be clearer," he said. "These reports will set out all the facts and we can have a full and open debate.

"All of our council meetings are open to the press and public and we are, of course, one of very few councils who actually broadcast their meetings live via the council website.

"I am at a loss to think what more we can do to be as open and transparent as we possibly can. I hope as many people as possible will take the opportunity to either come along or to watch the debate when it takes place at the next council meeting.

"To suggest that there is a lack of openness or that members of the council are being silenced is ridiculous.

"If a member wanted to have this matter placed on the agenda for the council meeting they could have tabled a question to myself in the proper manner and a reply would have been provided.

"Trying to bring something up as a procedural motion at the end of a three-hour meeting is not the way to go about it. There are provisions in the council’s constitution which allow any member to place questions on the agenda and I can only speculate as to why they didn’t do it in the proper manner."