Pembrokeshire County Council chief executive will not stand aside during police investigation

3:24pm Monday 17th February 2014

Pembrokeshire County Council chief executive Bryn Parry-Jones will not follow the example of his counterpart in Carmarthenshire by standing aside while police investigate 'unlawful' pension payments he received, the Western Telegraph can confirm.

On Friday it was announced that Carmarthenshire County Council chief executive Mark James would stand aside while police investigated the 'unlawful' pension payments scandal that has rocked both Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire local authorities.

Today (Monday) the Western Telegraph asked if Mr Parry-Jones would also stand aside while police carried out their work.

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council, said: "The purpose of the police investigation, announced on 12th February, is to ascertain whether or not any criminal offences have taken place.

"It is not an investigation into the conduct of any individual member of staff."

Pembrokeshire County Council leader, Councillor Jamie Adams, added: “Given these circumstances, it is difficult to see how paying the Chief Executive to remain at home represents effective use of public money.”

'Strip BPJ of returning officer duties'

Meanwhile, Welsh Labour AM Rebecca Evans has called for Mr Parry-Jones to be stripped of his role as Returning Officer for Wales in the European elections this May until local councillors are allowed to debate the issue properly and the police investigation has concluded.

This follows last week’s full council meeting that descended into farce after the council enlisted lawyer declared a number of people had pre-determined the outcome of the discussion which led to a walk-out and prevented a vote on suspending Mr Parry-Jones.

Rebecca Evans said: “After the embarrassing spectacle that was Friday’s ‘extraordinary meeting’ of Pembrokeshire council, it is clear that the Pembrokeshire council leadership is content to allow the debate to descend into farce rather than grapple openly and in public with the serious issues presented by the Wales Audit Office reports.

“It would now be utterly preposterous for Bryn Parry Jones to preside over the European Ballot as Returning Officer while his pension payments are still under police investigation. The public must have complete confidence in the election process, and in all of the people involved. Until  the police investigation is concluded, alternative arrangements must be made – and that means relieving Bryn Parry Jones of his Returning Officer role.”

 

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