Monday, 18 January 2010

Forcing change on the council

Carmarthenshire County Council is likely to be compelled to change the way in which it appoints chairs of its committees under a new Measure proposed by the Welsh Government. The Government has been telling authorities for some years now that these posts should be allocated across political parties on a proportional basis, but the ruling Labour/ Independent Party has to date insisted on taking more than its share of posts. The Government is also likely to insist that the chair of the audit committee should be an opposition member, another step which Carmarthenshire has refused to take.

Cllr Gwyn Hopkins from Plaid, said, “It seems as though the council’s Independent and Labour Parties will only change their approach when they are forced to do so. Democracy, of a type implemented in most councils across Wales, will only come to Carmarthenshire when the ruling parties are faced with a statutory requirement. Plaid have consistently argued for many years that posts within the council should be shared out on a fair basis, giving all parties a chance to influence the decision-making process, but Meryl Gravell and her clique have been determined to keep as much power as possible to themselves, and lock Plaid councillors out of all the decision-making processes. We have given them a number of opportunities to follow the advice which the Government has given them, but they have refused on every occasion. Now it seems as though they are going to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a more democratic and open approach.”

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