Wall of silence at County Hall as Pembrokeshire County Council refuses to answer questions over unlawful pension payment scandal

Western Telegraph: Questions: Bryn Parry-Jones. Questions: Bryn Parry-Jones.

A wall of silence descended on County Hall this week as the local authority refused to answer questions over the controversial unlawful payments scandal.

After the Wales Audit Office branded the payments to council chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones and another officer as unlawful, the Western Telegraph submitted a series of questions to the county council.

They included:

  • Does the council now accept that the scheme referred to is unlawful, as the auditor has made clear? If not, do you plan to take the matter further?
  • Has the council now rescinded the decision to allow the pension opt-out and stopped the payments? If not, when will that happen?
  • Will Bryn Parry-Jones be offering his resignation? If not, is he facing any disciplinary action?
  • How much has the council already spent on legal fees relating to this issue? Is there any estimation of the likely total cost?
  • The council has often used the line that the scheme would not cost the council any extra money to defend it against criticism. The auditor clearly says the scheme would have cost extra. What is the council’s response?

Pembrokeshire County Council refused to answer the questions.

In reply, the local authority would only say: “We will not be answering the questions as the Council has to meet first to discuss the Appointed Auditor’s report.”

Pembrokeshire's stance is markedly different to that of Carmarthenshire, where the authority's cabinet has come out strongly in support of the officers involved and issued several statements in relation to the issues.

As council leader Jamie Adams was on holiday, the Western Telegraph also emailed several other questions relating to the political fallout to deputy leader Cllr Rob Lewis.

The questions included whether Cllr Adams should stand down for defending the pensions payments over several months.

Cllr Lewis did not respond but Cllr Adams sent a statement, reading: “The council has received a Public Interest Report which it is obliged to consider within one month. The report sets out four recommendations that the Council will be asked to consider. Until such time as Council has met to consider the Auditors report, and other relevant evidence, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

South Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart told the Western Telegraph that the Pembrokeshire County Council should now publish the legal advice it had received about the pension opt-out scheme and set out exactly how it had come to the decision to allow the scheme.

“There have been a number of occasions over the past few years where the finger of suspicion has been pointed at the council in terms of decisions taken and accountability – it’s frustrating because I’m not prone to a conspiracy theory, I try to support the council wherever possible – but they do make it very hard for themselves," said Mr Hart.

“They can’t be surprised when members of the public, the press, run out of patience.

"If there is a justifiable reason for the decisions taken, let’s see them. If I was in the council leader’s shoes I would be publishing this information on the council website ASAP."

Comments (26)

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5:39pm Tue 4 Feb 14

PembrokeshireMan says...

The scumbags at running the show at Pembrokeshire County Council have been systematically re-directing as much money from the public purse that they thought they could get away with for many years. They are laughing at us for allowing them to it for so long and to such an extent.

This matter is just the tip of the iceberg.

The harder we fight to bring BJP to justice the harder they will fight to protect him. We can only hope that at some point the protection afforded by his brothers in arms will fail and the cancer can be excised. The trouble is, there are so many secondary cancers that the host cannot survive.
The scumbags at running the show at Pembrokeshire County Council have been systematically re-directing as much money from the public purse that they thought they could get away with for many years. They are laughing at us for allowing them to it for so long and to such an extent. This matter is just the tip of the iceberg. The harder we fight to bring BJP to justice the harder they will fight to protect him. We can only hope that at some point the protection afforded by his brothers in arms will fail and the cancer can be excised. The trouble is, there are so many secondary cancers that the host cannot survive. PembrokeshireMan

6:31pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Cymru bach says...

Normally the Council leaders and cabinet are only too happy to take unilateral decisions without referral to full Council, as they did when they approved this scheme.

Isn't it ironic that they will not now answer the a Western Telegraph's questions above as the 'Council' has to meet to discuss it!

They are not fooling anyone.

Answer the Questions Councillors Lewis/Adams, you are supposed to be in charge, are you not?
Normally the Council leaders and cabinet are only too happy to take unilateral decisions without referral to full Council, as they did when they approved this scheme. Isn't it ironic that they will not now answer the a Western Telegraph's questions above as the 'Council' has to meet to discuss it! They are not fooling anyone. Answer the Questions Councillors Lewis/Adams, you are supposed to be in charge, are you not? Cymru bach

6:49pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Harrygrayballs says...

Is it ostriches that bury their head in the sand................
..........
NO its PCC.
Waiting for their leader to return......then he can STONEWALL us!!!!!
Is it ostriches that bury their head in the sand................ .......... NO its PCC. Waiting for their leader to return......then he can STONEWALL us!!!!! Harrygrayballs

6:57pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Welshman23 says...

You are servants of the people of Pembrokeshire get off your backsides and face the music, you overpaid servants.
You are servants of the people of Pembrokeshire get off your backsides and face the music, you overpaid servants. Welshman23

7:10pm Tue 4 Feb 14

deanobeano64 says...

why not answer the questions got something to hide prehaps???????
why not answer the questions got something to hide prehaps??????? deanobeano64

8:05pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Welshman23 says...

Perhaps there is a secret settlement meeting taking place for the two people to leave with a package. Hope not
Perhaps there is a secret settlement meeting taking place for the two people to leave with a package. Hope not Welshman23

8:58pm Tue 4 Feb 14

hardcheese says...

Bryn Parry-Jones has no interest in the people of Pembrokeshire. BPJ only has one interest and that is MONEY...OUR MONEY..We need to have a complete clean out of Pembrokeshire C C. We can no longer trust the system, can't wait for the next election....
Bryn Parry-Jones has no interest in the people of Pembrokeshire. BPJ only has one interest and that is MONEY...OUR MONEY..We need to have a complete clean out of Pembrokeshire C C. We can no longer trust the system, can't wait for the next election.... hardcheese

12:21am Wed 5 Feb 14

Justiceforall says...

Retirement should be no escape, dig deeper for criminal nest featherers must be brought to justice..
Retirement should be no escape, dig deeper for criminal nest featherers must be brought to justice.. Justiceforall

7:44am Wed 5 Feb 14

daryl1957 says...

...of course there is a wall of silence......thieves
...every last one of them......people ain't going to take this corruption, lies and fraud for much longer......and it isn't just Pembrokeshire....Wil
tshire has a corrupt council too.....and there are many more.....the government want to introduce 'water cannons'.....why?...
..coz civil unrest is around the next corner....
...of course there is a wall of silence......thieves ...every last one of them......people ain't going to take this corruption, lies and fraud for much longer......and it isn't just Pembrokeshire....Wil tshire has a corrupt council too.....and there are many more.....the government want to introduce 'water cannons'.....why?... ..coz civil unrest is around the next corner.... daryl1957

8:15am Wed 5 Feb 14

PembrokeshireMan says...

Their wagons are circled while they try and figure out a way out which causes the least loss of life. While one or two may be sacrificed never forget the names were party to their decision. They are all in it together.
Their wagons are circled while they try and figure out a way out which causes the least loss of life. While one or two may be sacrificed never forget the names were party to their decision. They are all in it together. PembrokeshireMan

9:18am Wed 5 Feb 14

KeanJo says...

Oh dear what can the matter be?
Who has locked himself in the lavatory?
He'll be there 'till a week Saturday
Cos he doesn't know hat to say.
Oh dear what can the matter be? Who has locked himself in the lavatory? He'll be there 'till a week Saturday Cos he doesn't know hat to say. KeanJo

10:13am Wed 5 Feb 14

emtycee says...

Let us hope that any action brought, through the discovery of these irregular proceedings,will deter public servants from following suit.
Let us hope that any action brought, through the discovery of these irregular proceedings,will deter public servants from following suit. emtycee

11:28am Wed 5 Feb 14

teifion says...

Funny how the Council press office aka spin doctors can reply to any criticism VERY quickly - look at how they're dissing the bus driver in Newgale or how quickly the "Council" can apparently make a decision VERY quickly at other times - actually its BPJ telling Adams what HE has decided yet this time it's doing it's best to put things off until the public have forgotten - It's SHAMEFUL
Just apologise, you've legally (and immorally) lined your pockets for years BUT this time you were too greedy and you were caught - RESIGN, RESIGN,RESIGN
Funny how the Council press office aka spin doctors can reply to any criticism VERY quickly - look at how they're dissing the bus driver in Newgale or how quickly the "Council" can apparently make a decision VERY quickly at other times - actually its BPJ telling Adams what HE has decided yet this time it's doing it's best to put things off until the public have forgotten - It's SHAMEFUL Just apologise, you've legally (and immorally) lined your pockets for years BUT this time you were too greedy and you were caught - RESIGN, RESIGN,RESIGN teifion

11:35am Wed 5 Feb 14

Gogledd says...

The very sad thing here is though that ordinary county council workers have had their wages cut while the Top Dogs have had theirs increased. That shows to me the true nature of greed and two faced attitude that this Council has towards, both us the people of Pembrokeshire and those who actually do the work at the Kremlin. That us the shame they should be made to face up to.
The very sad thing here is though that ordinary county council workers have had their wages cut while the Top Dogs have had theirs increased. That shows to me the true nature of greed and two faced attitude that this Council has towards, both us the people of Pembrokeshire and those who actually do the work at the Kremlin. That us the shame they should be made to face up to. Gogledd

1:38pm Wed 5 Feb 14

ladybench says...

Don't direct your questions at me said Councilor lewis i only work here,
He will quickly go to ground.Any sign of trouble.
Don't direct your questions at me said Councilor lewis i only work here, He will quickly go to ground.Any sign of trouble. ladybench

4:08pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Whitlandman says...

It is noted that Mr Simon Hart has now passed comment. The MP for Carmarthen East has asked the local Constabulary to investigate the matter in respect of Carmarthenshire County Council. Where do Mr Hart and our other elected Parliamentary and Welsh Assembly members stand on this. His views would be appreciated. After all Mr Hart has a foot in both Council areas so his views on Police investigation would be relevant to both Chief Executives.
It is noted that Mr Simon Hart has now passed comment. The MP for Carmarthen East has asked the local Constabulary to investigate the matter in respect of Carmarthenshire County Council. Where do Mr Hart and our other elected Parliamentary and Welsh Assembly members stand on this. His views would be appreciated. After all Mr Hart has a foot in both Council areas so his views on Police investigation would be relevant to both Chief Executives. Whitlandman

5:06pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Tttoommy says...

Just watching BBC news this afternoon, a reports' just come out trying to understand why paedophiles within the Catholic church got away with their behaviour over the years,.

it said that the reputations of the Catholic Church and of the priests came well before the victims and many organisations didn't want to get involved because they thought their reputations too would suffer from the fallout IF THEY investigated.

Not suggesting for an instant ANYTHING like that happened BUT you can see this sort of "reputation management" being considered more important than getting justice for the victims in very many places - several NHS trusts where people have died, and senior managers are allowed to retire with HUGE golden goodbyes and fat pensions, the BBC where Jimmy Saville was considered too important to be investigated, I just hope organisations in Wales will not just think about their reputations and investigate this case honestly and decently without fear of fallout
Just watching BBC news this afternoon, a reports' just come out trying to understand why paedophiles within the Catholic church got away with their behaviour over the years,. it said that the reputations of the Catholic Church and of the priests came well before the victims and many organisations didn't want to get involved because they thought their reputations too would suffer from the fallout IF THEY investigated. Not suggesting for an instant ANYTHING like that happened BUT you can see this sort of "reputation management" being considered more important than getting justice for the victims in very many places - several NHS trusts where people have died, and senior managers are allowed to retire with HUGE golden goodbyes and fat pensions, the BBC where Jimmy Saville was considered too important to be investigated, I just hope organisations in Wales will not just think about their reputations and investigate this case honestly and decently without fear of fallout Tttoommy

6:09pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Tttoommy says...

ladybench wrote:
Don't direct your questions at me said Councilor lewis i only work here,
He will quickly go to ground.Any sign of trouble.
I hope the ppl who voted for him remember what sort of chap he is when it comes time to vote
[quote][p][bold]ladybench[/bold] wrote: Don't direct your questions at me said Councilor lewis i only work here, He will quickly go to ground.Any sign of trouble.[/p][/quote]I hope the ppl who voted for him remember what sort of chap he is when it comes time to vote Tttoommy

6:31pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Tttoommy says...

Tttoommy wrote:
Just watching BBC news this afternoon, a reports' just come out trying to understand why paedophiles within the Catholic church got away with their behaviour over the years,.

it said that the reputations of the Catholic Church and of the priests came well before the victims and many organisations didn't want to get involved because they thought their reputations too would suffer from the fallout IF THEY investigated.

Not suggesting for an instant ANYTHING like that happened BUT you can see this sort of "reputation management" being considered more important than getting justice for the victims in very many places - several NHS trusts where people have died, and senior managers are allowed to retire with HUGE golden goodbyes and fat pensions, the BBC where Jimmy Saville was considered too important to be investigated, I just hope organisations in Wales will not just think about their reputations and investigate this case honestly and decently without fear of fallout
I do wonder why my comment is being voted down, surely even the people involved in this act which has been branded illegal by the Welsh senedds auditors would like to see their names cleared in a court of law?
[quote][p][bold]Tttoommy[/bold] wrote: Just watching BBC news this afternoon, a reports' just come out trying to understand why paedophiles within the Catholic church got away with their behaviour over the years,. it said that the reputations of the Catholic Church and of the priests came well before the victims and many organisations didn't want to get involved because they thought their reputations too would suffer from the fallout IF THEY investigated. Not suggesting for an instant ANYTHING like that happened BUT you can see this sort of "reputation management" being considered more important than getting justice for the victims in very many places - several NHS trusts where people have died, and senior managers are allowed to retire with HUGE golden goodbyes and fat pensions, the BBC where Jimmy Saville was considered too important to be investigated, I just hope organisations in Wales will not just think about their reputations and investigate this case honestly and decently without fear of fallout[/p][/quote]I do wonder why my comment is being voted down, surely even the people involved in this act which has been branded illegal by the Welsh senedds auditors would like to see their names cleared in a court of law? Tttoommy

9:17pm Wed 5 Feb 14

teifion says...

Tttoommy wrote:
Tttoommy wrote:
Just watching BBC news this afternoon, a reports' just come out trying to understand why paedophiles within the Catholic church got away with their behaviour over the years,.

it said that the reputations of the Catholic Church and of the priests came well before the victims and many organisations didn't want to get involved because they thought their reputations too would suffer from the fallout IF THEY investigated.

Not suggesting for an instant ANYTHING like that happened BUT you can see this sort of "reputation management" being considered more important than getting justice for the victims in very many places - several NHS trusts where people have died, and senior managers are allowed to retire with HUGE golden goodbyes and fat pensions, the BBC where Jimmy Saville was considered too important to be investigated, I just hope organisations in Wales will not just think about their reputations and investigate this case honestly and decently without fear of fallout
I do wonder why my comment is being voted down, surely even the people involved in this act which has been branded illegal by the Welsh senedds auditors would like to see their names cleared in a court of law?
I suggest that as this comment is voted down then maybe , just maybe these people (or their friends or family) don't think their loved ones are innocent?

Thanks for that, primae facie case of guilt? LOL
[quote][p][bold]Tttoommy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tttoommy[/bold] wrote: Just watching BBC news this afternoon, a reports' just come out trying to understand why paedophiles within the Catholic church got away with their behaviour over the years,. it said that the reputations of the Catholic Church and of the priests came well before the victims and many organisations didn't want to get involved because they thought their reputations too would suffer from the fallout IF THEY investigated. Not suggesting for an instant ANYTHING like that happened BUT you can see this sort of "reputation management" being considered more important than getting justice for the victims in very many places - several NHS trusts where people have died, and senior managers are allowed to retire with HUGE golden goodbyes and fat pensions, the BBC where Jimmy Saville was considered too important to be investigated, I just hope organisations in Wales will not just think about their reputations and investigate this case honestly and decently without fear of fallout[/p][/quote]I do wonder why my comment is being voted down, surely even the people involved in this act which has been branded illegal by the Welsh senedds auditors would like to see their names cleared in a court of law?[/p][/quote]I suggest that as this comment is voted down then maybe , just maybe these people (or their friends or family) don't think their loved ones are innocent? Thanks for that, primae facie case of guilt? LOL teifion

7:06am Thu 6 Feb 14

Welshman23 says...

Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, at PCC they stole from Pembrokeshire people to give to the rich. BPJ I understand is a solicitor if he is convicted will he get struck off being a solicitor. It's a week since the report was released what have PCC done during this time Nothing.
Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor, at PCC they stole from Pembrokeshire people to give to the rich. BPJ I understand is a solicitor if he is convicted will he get struck off being a solicitor. It's a week since the report was released what have PCC done during this time Nothing. Welshman23

8:15am Thu 6 Feb 14

Dave Edwards says...

The council have news section on their wesite but so far no mention of pensions - funny that!
The council have news section on their wesite but so far no mention of pensions - funny that! Dave Edwards

7:53pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Welshman23 says...

Dear Independent Plus Member
I write at this time of significant interest with regard to our current Senior Staff pension policy following the public interest report issued by the WAO. I have had the opportunity to speak at length with a number of you about some of the issues raised and I’m sure many of you will have had conversations with constituents who will be asking further questions. If any Group Member wishes to telephone/email/spea
k to me on this matter (or any other) please as ever, don’t hesitate to get in touch
I would also be interested to hear your views as to whether you wish to meet next week as a Group to discuss the matter
Best regards
Jamie
Councillor Jamie Adams
Leader
Pembrokeshire County Council, County Hall, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA61 1TP
Telephone: 01437 776231
This is an email sent to IPPG members, Adams can find the time to rally his troops but cannot respond to the corruption on pensions.
Dear Independent Plus Member I write at this time of significant interest with regard to our current Senior Staff pension policy following the public interest report issued by the WAO. I have had the opportunity to speak at length with a number of you about some of the issues raised and I’m sure many of you will have had conversations with constituents who will be asking further questions. If any Group Member wishes to telephone/email/spea k to me on this matter (or any other) please as ever, don’t hesitate to get in touch I would also be interested to hear your views as to whether you wish to meet next week as a Group to discuss the matter Best regards Jamie Councillor Jamie Adams Leader Pembrokeshire County Council, County Hall, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA61 1TP Telephone: 01437 776231 This is an email sent to IPPG members, Adams can find the time to rally his troops but cannot respond to the corruption on pensions. Welshman23

8:41pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Welshman23 says...

This is an extract from the PCC website have a look under the open and honesty.

Our Customer Charter

Pembrokeshire County Council provides a wide range of services for its customers. Schools, social care, libraries, road maintenance and leisure centres are just some of our many services. One of our key principles is putting customers first, our customers are the focus of everything we do and the way in which we work.
No matter which service or part of the Council you are dealing with, you can expect to receive a consistently high level of service.
We intend to make dealing with the Council as easy as possible, delivering services in ways that are convenient for you.
We will:-
be polite, helpful, open and honest
listen to you and take notice of what you have to say
do our best to advise you
do what we say we will do
respect your confidentiality and privacy
provide clear information, using plain language and in a format to suit you
treat customers fairly and equally
This is an extract from the PCC website have a look under the open and honesty. Our Customer Charter Pembrokeshire County Council provides a wide range of services for its customers. Schools, social care, libraries, road maintenance and leisure centres are just some of our many services. One of our key principles is putting customers first, our customers are the focus of everything we do and the way in which we work. No matter which service or part of the Council you are dealing with, you can expect to receive a consistently high level of service. We intend to make dealing with the Council as easy as possible, delivering services in ways that are convenient for you. We will:- be polite, helpful, open and honest listen to you and take notice of what you have to say do our best to advise you do what we say we will do respect your confidentiality and privacy provide clear information, using plain language and in a format to suit you treat customers fairly and equally Welshman23

9:19pm Thu 6 Feb 14

teifion says...

To welshman23

It's easy enough to have a charter or whatever - ALL I know is that there are loads of sKools for instance with anti-bullying policies so they get an extra star in some report BUT Do you think for a second they're glad when a parent complains about bullying so they can investigate such issues?

Of course not, it's a black mark against them - I recall a grieving mother some time ago claiming she'd complained about her child being bullied, the school claimed she's not made an "official complaint" just had a chat with the head teacher - the child hanged themselves but let's worry about that as some stupid, selfish head teacher was more concerned about their 5 star rating or some bonus they'd get - It's reputation management all over again
To welshman23 It's easy enough to have a charter or whatever - ALL I know is that there are loads of sKools for instance with anti-bullying policies so they get an extra star in some report BUT Do you think for a second they're glad when a parent complains about bullying so they can investigate such issues? Of course not, it's a black mark against them - I recall a grieving mother some time ago claiming she'd complained about her child being bullied, the school claimed she's not made an "official complaint" just had a chat with the head teacher - the child hanged themselves but let's worry about that as some stupid, selfish head teacher was more concerned about their 5 star rating or some bonus they'd get - It's reputation management all over again teifion

10:41pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Welshman23 says...

teifion wrote:
To welshman23

It's easy enough to have a charter or whatever - ALL I know is that there are loads of sKools for instance with anti-bullying policies so they get an extra star in some report BUT Do you think for a second they're glad when a parent complains about bullying so they can investigate such issues?

Of course not, it's a black mark against them - I recall a grieving mother some time ago claiming she'd complained about her child being bullied, the school claimed she's not made an "official complaint" just had a chat with the head teacher - the child hanged themselves but let's worry about that as some stupid, selfish head teacher was more concerned about their 5 star rating or some bonus they'd get - It's reputation management all over again
My point is that the latest pension fiasco there are no comments, at least Carmarthenshire have acted on the report and published their response on their website. The PCC website has not details of the pension report.
[quote][p][bold]teifion[/bold] wrote: To welshman23 It's easy enough to have a charter or whatever - ALL I know is that there are loads of sKools for instance with anti-bullying policies so they get an extra star in some report BUT Do you think for a second they're glad when a parent complains about bullying so they can investigate such issues? Of course not, it's a black mark against them - I recall a grieving mother some time ago claiming she'd complained about her child being bullied, the school claimed she's not made an "official complaint" just had a chat with the head teacher - the child hanged themselves but let's worry about that as some stupid, selfish head teacher was more concerned about their 5 star rating or some bonus they'd get - It's reputation management all over again[/p][/quote]My point is that the latest pension fiasco there are no comments, at least Carmarthenshire have acted on the report and published their response on their website. The PCC website has not details of the pension report. Welshman23

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