YET another police investigation is set to rock Pembrokeshire County Hall, the Western Telegraph can exclusively reveal.
The Western Telegraph has learned that Gloucestershire Constabulary has been passed new information relating to the controversial pension ‘pay supplement’ paid to county council chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones and another, unnamed, senior officer.
And, on the basis of the new information received, a fresh police investigation has been launched.
Council Labour leader Cllr Paul Miller wrote to Gloucestershire Police on June 9 after being personally approached by an anonymous whistleblower.
The whistleblower provided Cllr Miller with information relating to the original report in 2011 which first suggested allowing senior, well-paid officers, to be allowed to opt out of the local government pension plan and receive the equivalent of the employer’s pension contribution as salary.
The issue eventually led to a Wales Audit Office public interest report declaring the arrangement ‘unlawful’, but an original investigation by Gloucestershire Police found no wrong doing.
More than £45,000 has been paid to Mr Parry-Jones and the other officer involved under the arrangement.
The report to the senior staff committee was said to have been written by the Director of Finance and Leisure and the Head of Human Resources and made the claim that introducing the policy would "aid recruitment and retention" of senior officers, although the Wales Audit Office questioned that assertion.
But Cllr Miller has been passed information which alleges that Mr Parry-Jones actually wrote the report himself.
Cllr Miller wrote to Gloucester Police and this week received a call to confirm that the information was being investigated.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman told the Western Telegraph "Following receipt of new information relating to Pembrokeshire County Council and the Public Interest report published by the Wales Audit Office early this year, Dyfed-Powys Police and Gloucestershire Constabulary have now fully considered this and as a result have decided the new information specifically should be investigated further by the police.
"Due to the close working relationships and partnership arrangements that exist between Dyfed-Powys Police and Pembrokeshire County Council, it is not appropriate for the Force to carry out the enquiry, and as such the matter will be investigated by Gloucestershire Constabulary.
"The investigation will not re-visit the previous information available, and will be focussed on any new evidence that comes to light. It would not be appropriate to comment further on this ongoing investigation at this time."
The Western Telegraph asked Pembrokeshire County Council if Mr Parry-Jones would remain in post while the investigation took place.
But a spokesman would only say: “We are aware of the public statement issued by Dyfed-Powys Police and can confirm that we will co-operate fully with any requests from Gloucestershire Constabulary.”
Cllr Miller said: “Mr Parry-Jones has now got to be suspended while this investigation takes place. His position is untenable. He cannot remain in place while this investigation continues.”