South West Wales

Carmarthenshire council payments row boss Mark James to stay

Mark James
Image caption A police inquiry into the payments found no evidence to suggest a criminal offence had occurred

A council boss who was at the heart of an unlawful payments scandal is staying in his post.

Carmarthenshire council said it is "delighted" that chief executive Mark James, one of two chief executives to receive payments in lieu of employer pension contributions deemed "unlawful" by the Wales Audit Office, is staying.

Mr James has withdrawn his application for severance.

His package, worth a possible £446,000, was branded "a disgrace".

In a joint statement, the Labour/Independent administration said Mr James would stay on "for the time being".

Kevin Madge and Pam Palmer, the council's leader and deputy leader, said: "If ever there was a time when we need a first class, highly experienced and respected chief executive at the helm, it is now."

The public spending watchdog report said Carmarthenshire and neighbouring Pembrokeshire council acted unlawfully in allowing their chief executives to opt out of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) to avoid potential tax payments.

Instead the pair were given cash supplements in lieu of pension contributions.

More on this story