PRIVATE parts of Pembroke Dock Town Council meetings, where confidential matters are discussed, are routinely being 'leaked' to friends of some council members despite the public being excluded.

Private and confidential sessions of the town council, traditionally held at the end of the monthly meeting, are often used to discuss issues of staff wages, and have recently been used to discuss allegations of alleged bullying at Pembroke Dock Town Council.

Speaking at the January 11 meeting at the town’s Pater Hall, Interim Mayor Cllr Gordon Goff questioned whether private and confidential meetings should be open to the public.

He said that a mockery had been made of the whole issue of private sessions, as confidential matters were being routinely shared.

“It’s a bit worrying that we have a private and confidential meeting and less than eight hours later they, the public, know what has happened because ‘so and so’ told them.

“Private and confidential should be that; if not abolish it and keep everything open to the public.”

He later added: “Loose lips sink ships, and that’s what’s happening here I’m afraid.”

Cllr Margaret Murton warned: “That’s breaking the code of conduct; going home and talking to your friends about what’s going on.”

Councillor Stephen O’Connor stressed there was a need to keep private and confidential meetings to avoid the disclosure of private and confidential staff and wage matters.

However, he warned: “If it is going on, it should be taken seriously, they should be reported for a breach of our standards. I’m horrified that you’ve brought it up about Private and Confidential being discussed at all.”

Councillor Brian Hall said: “I totally agree; the public know literally half an hour after the meeting, and there are instances where the public know before councillors that weren’t at the meeting. If there are any incidents they should be brought to the monitoring officer, or even the ombudsman, or even suspension.”