A CALL to change who runs Pembrokeshire County Council’s full council meetings, which was labelled “an entirely opportunistic political move” last month, is expected to be heard in December.
Pembrokeshire County Council meetings have been chaired by a presiding member since 2020, first Cllr Pat Davies and latterly Cllr Simon Hancock.
The position replaces a role previously occupied by chair of the council, the role of council chairman now taking on more of a civic function.
At the October meeting of full council, members were asked to consider options for a financial allowance for the presiding member.
A sticking point emerged, the last of five points, giving the option to remove the role, the council chairman taking the position back; which sparked much debate on the legitimacy of including it.
An amendment, to the recommendation to support remuneration of the role, was put forward by Councillor Jamie Adams – leader of the previous council administration – to delete the role of presiding member from the next election, reverting to the previous chairman role.
“When I speak to members of my community, they are quite astonished that the chairman does not chair the council meetings,” said Cllr Adams, adding: “I don’t wish my words to be in any way derogatory to members that have undertaken the role of presiding member, but I think it should be the role of the chairman, and therefore move option five.”
However, Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Miller said the proposal by Cllr Adams was “an entirely opportunistic political move” to oust Cllr Hancock.
During a heated meeting, which attracted the ire of Councillor Alan Dennison and Councillor Aled Thomas – Cllr Miller said some previous elected chairman were ‘patsies’ elected by the-then ruling independent political group, under the leadership of Cllr Adams.
After the lengthy and – at times – heated discussion, Cllr Miller formally moved a closure motion, meaning the item would return to a future meeting, supported by 32 votes to 24.
The matter was expected to be revisited at the next available full council meeting.
At the November 10 extraordinary meeting of the council, Councillor Phil Kidney asked why the matter was not included in the agenda, believing it was the whole reason why a special meeting had been arranged.
Chief Executive Will Bramble said the item had been delayed by the time required to produce a report for members, telling them it was expected to come before the December meeting of council.