South West Wales

Pembrokeshire council unions' no confidence ballot over chief

Bryn Parry Jones
Image caption Bryn Parry Jones has been previously urged to resign

Unions are to ballot staff at Pembrokeshire council in a vote of no confidence in the chief executive amid a fresh police investigation into unlawful pension salary supplements.

One union leader said members are "astonished" that Bryn Parry Jones has not been suspended while the original inquiry and now a new one is held.

The latest investigation was launched last week.

Unison, Unite and GMB members will also stage a protest next month.

Gloucestershire Constabulary originally looked at cash payments made in lieu of employer pension contributions after the Wales Audit Office (WAO) ruled it was unlawful earlier this year.

The WAO said both Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire councils acted unlawfully by letting both Mr Parry Jones and Carmarthen chief executive Mark James opt out of the pension scheme to avoid potential tax payments.

Fresh information

The auditor said the decisions to allow certain officers to receive payments, and then for payments to be made, were unlawful on several grounds.

Mr James stood down from his duties while police investigated, but Gloucestershire Constabulary, which carried out the investigation, said in May it would not take any further action.

The police inquiry found no evidence to suggest that any criminal offences had taken place by Mr Parry Jones and an unnamed senior officer.

Earlier this month, Pembrokeshire council confirmed no further action would be taken against him and the unnamed senior officer involved to reclaim a gross sum of £45,606.

But last week a new police investigation was launched after fresh information emerged.

'Enough is enough'

Unison branch secretary Vic Dennis said: "Unison members are astonished that somebody entangled in this whole sorry saga has not been suspended whilst the investigation and now reinvestigation takes place.

"If this happened to an ordinary worker their feet would not touch the ground. They would be suspended to allow a full investigation to be carried out."

Mr Dennis said there has been "a catalogue of failures and concerns" and union members were saying "enough is enough".

The joint unions are now planning to "demonstrate their anger" at a lunchtime protest on 8 August, Mr Dennis said.

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