Protection racket

The foyer in county hall is presently festooned with posters for International Fraud Awareness Week. On visiting the website, I find Pembrokeshire County Council is listed as a supporter of this worthy cause. Can there ever have been a greater gulf between theory and practice? I might have given the wrong impression when I said... Read More »

Brothers in arms

Brothers in armsThe young whippersnapper over at that other website has an excellent piece on the close relationship between Bryn Parry-Jones and Cllr Brian Hall, which he has likened to that between Arthur Daley and his minder Terry. Goldfinger and Oddjob would more closely fit my estimation. I have long been baffled as to how the sophisticated,... Read More »

Oiling the wheels

The breakdown of the deal to sell the Murco refinery comes as no surprise, though the consequences are no less pleasant for that. There is a surplus of refining capacity world-wide and if an experienced operator like Murphy Oil can’t make a profit on the site – and these big companies don’t usually close down... Read More »

Exit strategy

So Mr Parry-Jones has departed, accompanied by a large dollop of taxpayers’ money, though, thanks to the intervention of the WAO, not quite so large as that approved by the IPPG and its friends on October 16. As a result of the WAO’s insistence on the removal of the unlawful pension payments, the final settlement is... Read More »

Groupthink

Last week the Western Telegraph website carried councillors’ replies to its questions about the way they voted on the 29-23 majority for chief executive’s controversial severance package. The contributions of the 14 supporters (out of 29) who bothered to reply are interesting because, as extracts from some of their contributions (below) show, they seemed to be... Read More »

Golden goodbye

Pembrokeshire County Council has voted narrowly to give its chief executive a big pay-off. Whether that decision was correct is not a black and white question. Almost universally, the comments in the Western Telegraph of those who voted in favour compared the cost of the settlement with the cost of carrying on down the disciplinary... Read More »

Thrice denied

As anticipated, the IPPG block vote, plus a trio of fellow travellers (Cllrs Alison Lee, David Lloyd and Stan Hudson), was enough to ensure that the chief executive got his £320,000 golden goodbye. At least Cllr Lee, the latest recruit from the Labour group, could fall back on collective Cabinet responsibility as an excuse. The Leader,... Read More »

Pyramid selling

Old Grumpy’s seismograph detects a political earthquake about to hit Pembrokeshire as the fault lines in the IPPG grind towards snapping point. So far, there have been some minor tremors such as the sacking/resignation of Cllr David Simpson – the only Cabinet member with even a shred of credibility – leaving a uniform bunch of... Read More »

Stranger than truth

On Wednesday, I tendered my resignation from the disciplinary committee which is charged with determining whether there is anything in the chief executive’s conduct that would warrant referring the matter to a “designated independent person” for further investigation. For very good reasons, this committee meets in secret, so you will understand why I have to be... Read More »

Back to front

Back to frontMonday’s extraordinary audit committee meeting; called to discuss the “irregular” grant payments in Pembroke Dock, was an interesting spectacle for an avid Kremlin watcher like Old Grumpy. When this committee first considered my concerns about this issue almost exactly one year ago, members were told: “4.3.1 Internal Audit has shared its findings with the Council’s... Read More »

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