Pension scandal meeting to include bid to suspend council chief executive

Western Telegraph: Will councillors suspend Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones? Will councillors suspend Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones?

PEMBROKESHIRE County Councillors will discuss whether to suspend chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones on Friday as the fall-out over the ‘unlawful’ pension payments scandal continues.

Among the agenda items for the extraordinary meeting of the council is a notice of motion laid down by Labour group leader Cllr Paul Miller and signed by nine members.

It calls for Mr Parry-Jones to be immediately suspended, the controversial pay supplement revoked and further investigations to continue.

The meeting is a requirement of the damning Wales Audit Office report which labelled a scheme whereby Mr Parry-Jones and another officer opted out of the Local government Pension Scheme but received the employers’ pension contributions in direct payments, to be unlawful.

Dyfed-Powys Police has already said it is liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service over the matter.

But the agenda papers show that Pembrokeshire County Council steadfastly refutes the Auditor’s opinion that the scheme is unlawful.

An eight page report by the Monitoring Officer works its way through the Auditor’s concerns and bats them off - with the exception of the council failing to pay due regard to public sector equality which is described as “an oversight that is regretted.”

The council maintains that:

  • the Senior Staff Committee that took the decision to allow the scheme did have the power to do so;
  • the decision was taken to aid senior staff recruitment and was “a policy decision rather than a decision favouring one employee”;
  • that there is no requirement for officers to declare an interest in an item, even if they have a direct interest;
  • that the payment did comply with the Senior Staff Committee’s decision that the scheme should not cost the council additional money.

Councillors will receive detailed legal advice to support the council’s position, a spokesman said.

He added: “In that advice the Auditor clearly states that he is not suggesting that “a pay supplement of this type is intrinsically and necessarily unlawful.

“Further independent expert advice will be shared with Council demonstrating that the pensions facility offered to County Council staff is used in other public sector organisations in the health and university sectors.”

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “It is important that Councillors have the opportunity to consider all the relevant evidence before deciding how best to respond to the Auditor’s recommendations.

“For example, one of the misunderstandings that has developed is that, as a result of this arrangement, two senior officers of the council are receiving tax free pay supplements.

“That is simply not true. For officers who chose to remain in the Local Government Pension Scheme, employee and employer pension contributions are tax free.

“However, in electing to leave the scheme and make their own arrangements for retirement, the officers concerned are paying considerably more tax on a monthly basis than would otherwise be the case.”

“Another misunderstanding that has arisen is that a criminal act has been committed. I understand that at a recent meeting with the Authority, the Auditor confirmed that he was not suggesting this was the case.”

Councillor Adams continued: “I am looking forward to the debate.

“It is of the utmost importance that Members do not allow a perception to arise that they had predetermined their position on these matters before seeing all the evidence that will be presented to Council.”

The meeting takes place at County Hall on Friday, February 14 at 10am. The meeting is open to the public and will also be broadcast via the web at www.pembrokeshire.public-i.tv/core/

Comments (9)

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3:33pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Flashbang says...

"The decision was taken to aid senior staff recruitment and was “a policy decision rather than a decision favouring one employee”; Nice try but it doesn't wash. The over generous packages for senior staff are way beyond any value for money given. We'd get better people if they were paid the average wage as they'd have an incentive to prove themselves to get on the corporate ladder.
"The decision was taken to aid senior staff recruitment and was “a policy decision rather than a decision favouring one employee”; Nice try but it doesn't wash. The over generous packages for senior staff are way beyond any value for money given. We'd get better people if they were paid the average wage as they'd have an incentive to prove themselves to get on the corporate ladder. Flashbang
  • Score: 3

4:02pm Tue 11 Feb 14

teifion says...

It's only right that ANYONE who has been investigated for any wrong doing should be suspended on full pay - It's the case in any office job (even Pembs CC) any teacher, any policeman - It's as I've said not a sign of guilt or innocence - Its to stop further wrong doing possibly and to stop records to be tampered with.
And let's be honest, in many cases where nothing has been found wrong or illegal the person (six or seven I suggest in THIS case including past and present leaders of the council) go back to work, let's not forget unlawful acts have already been proven
It's only right that ANYONE who has been investigated for any wrong doing should be suspended on full pay - It's the case in any office job (even Pembs CC) any teacher, any policeman - It's as I've said not a sign of guilt or innocence - Its to stop further wrong doing possibly and to stop records to be tampered with. And let's be honest, in many cases where nothing has been found wrong or illegal the person (six or seven I suggest in THIS case including past and present leaders of the council) go back to work, let's not forget unlawful acts have already been proven teifion
  • Score: 6

4:03pm Tue 11 Feb 14

teifion says...

Personally I'd advise Bryn to jump, being pushed might cost VERY heavily
Personally I'd advise Bryn to jump, being pushed might cost VERY heavily teifion
  • Score: 3

4:41pm Tue 11 Feb 14

PembrokeshireMan says...

With a bit of luck the WAO (and their connections) will make an example of these upstarts.

Much like the people of Italy and Greece (and indeed of the EU) we, the people of Pembrokeshire, cannot elect or remove the most powerful bureaucrats in the land (and their hangers-on)

Please, do something about it - they are bleeding us dry.

Sadly, I suspect, irreparable damage has already been done and the money for services is running out fast. Whatever happens the money will still be there for their pensions of course.
With a bit of luck the WAO (and their connections) will make an example of these upstarts. Much like the people of Italy and Greece (and indeed of the EU) we, the people of Pembrokeshire, cannot elect or remove the most powerful bureaucrats in the land (and their hangers-on) Please, do something about it - they are bleeding us dry. Sadly, I suspect, irreparable damage has already been done and the money for services is running out fast. Whatever happens the money will still be there for their pensions of course. PembrokeshireMan
  • Score: 8

5:01pm Tue 11 Feb 14

hardcheese says...

"QUOTE WALES ONLINE"
"The report, to be considered by members of the National Assembly’s public accounts committee on Thursday as part of their inquiry into senior management pay, reveals that in 2012-13, Pembrokeshire County Council chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones was the highest paid local government officer in Wales – even though his authority was 14th out of 22 in terms of population size.
Mr Parry-Jones was paid £194,661 – almost £11,000 more than the then chief executive in Cardiff, Jon House.
A recent report from the Assistant Auditor General for Wales Anthony Barrett declared that the council had acted unlawfully in paying Mr Parry-Jones a supplement to his salary rather than employer’s contributions to the Local Government Pension Fund."
Parry-Jones has got to go. Can we trust the Councillors to make the right decision? I don't think so...
"QUOTE WALES ONLINE" "The report, to be considered by members of the National Assembly’s public accounts committee on Thursday as part of their inquiry into senior management pay, reveals that in 2012-13, Pembrokeshire County Council chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones was the highest paid local government officer in Wales – even though his authority was 14th out of 22 in terms of population size. Mr Parry-Jones was paid £194,661 – almost £11,000 more than the then chief executive in Cardiff, Jon House. A recent report from the Assistant Auditor General for Wales Anthony Barrett declared that the council had acted unlawfully in paying Mr Parry-Jones a supplement to his salary rather than employer’s contributions to the Local Government Pension Fund." Parry-Jones has got to go. Can we trust the Councillors to make the right decision? I don't think so... hardcheese
  • Score: 9

5:49pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Gogledd says...

I shall tune in on Friday and see what comes out...I am not holding my breath...
I shall tune in on Friday and see what comes out...I am not holding my breath... Gogledd
  • Score: 5

7:50pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Welshman23 says...

Here is the voting results to suspend BPJ
IPPG 31 votes
The rest 29
BPJ to remain in post
Here is the voting results to suspend BPJ IPPG 31 votes The rest 29 BPJ to remain in post Welshman23
  • Score: 4

10:22pm Tue 11 Feb 14

pembrokedock123 says...

Here is the voting results to suspend BPJ
IPPG 31 votes
The rest 29
BPJ to remain in post

If the council do not even suspend him while he tries to clear his name (let alone sack him) and defy the Audit Office, they will surely only bring more problems on themselves from Audit Office + Government. If the only way to clean the stables is to abolish it, they are bringing this on themselves by defying the authorities at a time when merger/abolition of councils is actively under consideration. Also - why are they still being so secretive about who the other officer is? Will this be revealed in the debate?
Here is the voting results to suspend BPJ IPPG 31 votes The rest 29 BPJ to remain in post If the council do not even suspend him while he tries to clear his name (let alone sack him) and defy the Audit Office, they will surely only bring more problems on themselves from Audit Office + Government. If the only way to clean the stables is to abolish it, they are bringing this on themselves by defying the authorities at a time when merger/abolition of councils is actively under consideration. Also - why are they still being so secretive about who the other officer is? Will this be revealed in the debate? pembrokedock123
  • Score: 4

4:33pm Wed 12 Feb 14

teifion says...

Police will now get involved I see -

http://www.walesonli
ne.co.uk/news/wales-
news/police-launch-i
nvestigation-unlawfu
l-payments-6701913
Police will now get involved I see - http://www.walesonli ne.co.uk/news/wales- news/police-launch-i nvestigation-unlawfu l-payments-6701913 teifion
  • Score: -1

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