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Denbighshire North Wales Politics

Tory councillor apologises after aggressive outburst

Denbighshire County Council

AN OUTSPOKEN Denbighshire councillor has apologised following an “aggressive” outburst in which he made statements about council staff and questioned whether more employees should be “sacked”.

Conservative Alyn Valley councillor Terry Mendies made the apology at a council meeting on Tuesday at Denbighshire’s County Hall HQ.

Cllr Mendies also apologised for making a statement about the managing director of Denbighshire Leisure Ltd, a subsidiary of Denbighshire County Council.

When agreeing the budget at an earlier council meeting on 30 January, Cllr Mendies made several “inappropriate” and “incorrect” remarks and came under fire from other councillors.

These included incorrectly suggesting the council paid £2.3m to Denbighshire Leisure, and suggesting the council could save more money by getting rid of more staff.

He also questioned the need for the council’s communications department.

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Cllr Mendies is not a stranger to controversy after he suggested in December the council could save money from maternity-leave payments by employing older women.

At the January meeting, Cllr Mendies attacked the Welsh Government and defended fellow Tory councillor Hugh Irving.

Cllr Irving suggested that there should be “two boxes” when categorising council staff when assessing which jobs should be protected: one for statutory services and frontline staff and another for other employees.

“It wouldn’t be a council meeting, would it, without a cabinet member mentioning and blaming Westminster,” said Cllr Mendies at the January meeting.

“The Welsh Government has been given more money than ever before, but they don’t spend it wisely.

“They spend £33m on 20mph road signs, which caused the problem with the bus service and cut off my village of Llandegla, so we won’t go there.”

After being heckled, he added: “It is my New Year’s resolution that I’m nice to everyone.”

Cllr Mendies continued: “I listened to Cllr Hugh Irving when he mentioned the notion of having two boxes, an essential box and an unessential box, and I did notice some wry smiles (from councillors) in front of me when that was mentioned. That was not a ridiculous idea.

“That is what happens in business. If you can’t afford something, well you cut your advertising budget or you’ll cut your maintenance budget.

“So let’s have a look at a couple of essential and nonessential boxes, and a non-essential one would be Denbighshire Today.

“Do we need a communications department? Do any of us here need five emails a day from Denbighshire Today, telling us how wonderful we are doing when clearly you are not.

“There is also Denbighshire Leisure Ltd. We are paying £2.3m to them, and they are still posting a loss as per last year’s budget.

“At least we are paying all this money so that Jamie Groves (managing director) can win another gong for losing money.”

A councillor interjected, saying: “You can’t put names to people, Terry.”

Cllr Mendies then went on to say the budget only proposed hypothetical savings.

“I’ve asked the question about voluntary – what’s the nice one (term) – the voluntary exit scheme,” he said.

“Don’t call it redundancy. How many people are we sacking? Do we really need 4,600 employees, and even in the budget, you can’t say at this moment in time how many voluntary redundancies or voluntary exits there are going to be.”

Cllr Mendies was then slammed by Cllr Rhys Thomas for making inappropriate and incorrect remarks criticising and casting aspersions on people not at the meeting.

At a council meeting today (Tuesday), Cllr Mendies apologised for his “aggressive” outburst and inaccurate comments. “I also have an apology to make,” said Cllr Mendies.

“At the last council meeting, I made inaccurate statements concerning the managing director of Denbighshire Leisure, Mr Jamie Groves.

“I stated he won an award when in fact he received an award on behalf of his organisation that he heads.

“I also used the term ‘gongs’, which I recognise was inappropriate.”

He added: “I also stated Denbighshire Leisure Ltd was given £2.3m by DCC.

“This again was wrong. I accept that figure was incorrect.

“I apologise unreservedly to Mr Groves. I apologise to every member in this chamber because on that day my demeanour may have seemed to be aggressive.

“That was not my intention. It was not my intention to cause offence to any individuals. If I did so, I hope those concerned will accept my sincere apologies.”

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