A COUNCILLOR has urged caution over Carmarthenshire Council’s chief executive’s request for severance.

Tycroes representative Calum Higgins has said councillors must do what’s best for the county, not the chief executive.

Following Pembrokeshire Council’s decision to award their chief executive a severance package of over £250,000, Cllr Higgins has appealed to fellow councillors to “vote by conscience” when it comes to agreeing to Mark James’ request.

“We must do what’s best for the council and not necessarily what is best for the chief executive,” said Cllr Higgins.

“In the next few weeks and months I expect we will debate whether there is a business case for severance or not. We must make sure that the outcome of any senior management restructure is what is best for the county, not what is most convenient for any individual.”

He added: “I understand that any final decision to let the chief executive go will be made by the full council only after a proper and thorough debate.

“All councillors should vote by conscience and not on party political lines, and we should now follow the proper procedures to ensure fairness for the taxpayer and our employees as a whole.”

Mr James, who is continuing his role as chief executive during the decision period, applied for severance in September.

Earlier this year, he had come under scrutiny following the release of two Wales Audit Office Public Interest reports into the activity of the authority.

The reports questioned both the legality of a deal granting Mr James cash payments in lieu of pension contributions and also the granting of a libel indemnity to the chief executive while he pursued a libel counterclaim against Llanwrda blogger Jacqui Thompson.

Both the council and Mr James were later cleared of any wrongdoings.