South West Wales

Pembrokeshire chief executive may face investigation

Bryn Parry-Jones
Image caption Bryn Parry-Jones currently remains in his post as chief executive

The conduct of Pembrokeshire council's chief executive may be examined by an independent investigator.

It follows a row over cash payments in lieu of pension contributions to Bryn Parry-Jones which the Wales Audit Office ruled to be unlawful.

Last week the council passed a vote of no confidence in him.

Councillors on a special disciplinary committee met on Friday to consider an investigation into his conduct and will meet again later in the month.

They will gather evidence and decide whether a designated independent person (DIP) should be appointed to continue the investigation.

The committee, which is politically balanced, has the power to suspend the chief executive while alleged misconduct is investigated.

Resignation calls

Mr Parry-Jones has been under pressure to resign after it emerged that he received cash payments in lieu of pension contributions for tax purposes - a decision ruled "unlawful" by the Wales Audit Office.

In July, Pembrokeshire council said it would take no further action to reclaim the money from him and another unnamed senior officer involved in a similar arrangement.

Some staff have previously walked out in protest at Mr Parry-Jones remaining in his post.

He took a "leave of absence" in August, but it has since emerged that part of it coincided with his annual leave.

The vote of no confidence in Mr Parry-Jones a week ago saw 46 councillors against him, with three supporting him and three abstentions.

Councillors agreed he should face a disciplinary committee, which met for the first time on Friday.

Keith Lewis, a member of the ruling Independent Plus group, was voted chair of the 15-member committee, which drew up its terms of reference in public before going into private session to consider the issues.

The meeting was adjourned until 29 September.

If the committee decides that the allegations against Mr Parry-Jones should be investigated further, it must appoint an independent investigator within a month and make a decision based on their subsequent report.

An investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary relating to the cash payments issue found no evidence to suggest any criminal offences, but another police inquiry has since been launched following the discovery of new information.

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