PEMBROKESHIRE’S representatives at Westminster and Cardiff Bay say that the time has come for all 60 county councillors to prove they are up to the job and sort out the crisis ripping through County Hall.
Following the departure of chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones on a paid “period of absence” and council leader Jamie Adams’ job coming under renewed pressure, the county’s AMs and MPs said political opponents now have to work together for the sake of Pembrokeshire.
Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Assembly Members Paul Davies and Angela Burns and MPs Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart said that scandal after scandal was damaging Pembrokeshire.
Secretary of State for Wales, Mr Crabb, was among the most hard-hitting.
He said: “For more than six months the council has been bogged down in this issue.
“The ruling Independent Group has failed to address the matter effectively in a clear and transparent way.
“The truth is that normal politics and governance do not really exist at County Hall. Pembrokeshire is one of the last remaining places where individual councillors get themselves elected by promising to be independent and then immediately join a ruling party bizarrely called the Independent Group.
"It is a place where the big strategic decisions get taken by intelligent and highly able officers rather than by the elected politicians. There is no clear political programme which voters decide on at local election time and, therefore, very weak accountability from the politicians. And this goes on year after year.
“The normal time for this kind of situation to change is at the ballot box. But we have reached a point where the sea-change needs to start now. Every councillor who genuinely cares about the future of the authority needs to show they can work together to turn this around.”
“Our elected officials have let this drag on too long and the matter now needs to be resolved once and for all” added Mr Hart.
“We elect and pay councillors to make these decisions and it is up to them to prove if they are up to the job.
“Relentless politicking damages this which is why the council needs to unite rather than fragment.
“Councillors should be striving to achieve local government by consensus.
“This might mean working with political opponents for the good of the county.”
AM Mrs Burns had previously called on Mr Parry-Jones and Cllr Adams to go in the Western Telegraph.
She said “I laid out very clearly my very strong view on the lack of due process and transparency that I believe the county council owed the people of Pembrokeshire.
“My concern has been and remains the effective management and monitoring undertaken by the elected members of the county council.
“We can’t afford anymore scandals or interventions or those of us who live here will find ourselves being run from a conglomerated and vast local authority area.”
Preseli AM Mr Davies added: “The council executive should have ensured that they held senior management to account. It’s clear that the council should be run by those that have been elected.”