Pembrokeshire CC has today passed a massive vote of no confidence in its chief executive.
Councillors voted that they had no confidence in Bryn Parry Jones by 46 votes to three, with three abstentions, at an extraordinary council meeting.
The council then went into private session at which it decided not to suspend Mr Parry-Jones.
It later reconvened and resolved to set up a 15-strong committee to investigate “issues of conduct, trust and confidence” relating to the chief executive, whose chair would have power to suspend him in an emergency.
Leader Jamie Adams (Independent Plus) was authorised to engage with Mr Parry-Jones and his representatives to explore whether matters could be resolved.
Pembrokeshire was hit by controversy in January when the Wales Audit Office found Mr Parry-Jones had accepted an unlawful pension supplement.
A police investigation found no offence had been committed, but a second probe began after undisclosed information was given to the police by a whistleblower.
The council asked Mr Parry-Jones to repay the supplement but he declined. He went on a paid leave of absence last month.
The ruling Independent Plus group, which had shielded the chief executive throughout the year, on Friday deserted him.
Cllr Adams – who himself survived a no confidence motion this morning by 29-20 – said he had confidence in Mr Parry-Jones’ managerial ability.
However, he continued: “I have to reflect however there is an environment in which we are involved whereby it is difficult for any individual to operate successfully in that environment and the fact is there are concerns around the ability of this council to function.
“With that in mind I resolve that I do not have confidence that any individual can effectively operate in current environment and that leads me to conclude that I have no confidence in the ability of this individual to operate in this environment also.”
Opposition councillors echoed this view with Peter Stock (Pembrokeshire Alliance) saying: “I’m sad we have gone from crisis to crisis over the last couple of years. The chief executive has brought us into disrepute.”
Tessa Hodgson (Unaffiliated Independent): said: “The relationship between Independent Plus and Bryn Parry Jones has been too close for too long.” No councillor spoke against the motion in the 25-minute debate.
Mr Parry Jones has been chief executive since Pembrokeshire was formed in 1996 and prior to that was chief executive at the former Llanelli BC.
He is among the UK’s highest paid chiefs at a £193,136 salary plus £11,659 in benefits in kind.
Association of Local Authority Chief Executives (Alace) consultant Richard Penn, who is representing Mr Parry-Jones, said: “While this vote is a concern it has no employment consequences.
“The legal position is that the disciplinary process concerning a chief executive requires an investigating committee and then if needed a designated independent person to report.
“Mr Parry-Jones will continue to work for the organisation, supported by Alace.”