No doubt in response to requests by Councillors excluded from the new alliance at Anglesey County Council, the WAG Local Government minister, Carl Sargeant, has sent a letter to all County Councillors clarifying his position on the recent changes. Here are the relevant points:
Although he accepts that the Council has made some progress since last year, Sargeant goes on to say:
"But the underlying issues have never gone away. Council business too often focusses on internal disputes and rivalries rather than on delivering for the citizens of the Island. Too many members still prefer jockeying for their own personal advantage rather than serving those who elected them. As I said to you in February, the people of Anglesey do not care about petty squabbles. They care about vital services, and about their council providing leadership in these difficult times. They are still not getting that."
He clarifies his and WAG's position with regards to the formation of the new Alliance:
"It is not for me to endorse this or any other arrangement, and neither I, the Recovery Board, or any of my officials had any part in negotiating the new alliance or its terms of engagement. We are determined not to enter into local politics or take sides. Nor do we have any power to approve the appointment of a Leader or any interest in influencing such a decision ... But I welcome anything which leads to greater political stability within the Council and more focus on delivering for citizens rather than on internal squabbling."
He ends by making a clear warning that in the event that the Alliance fails, then there will be no more second chances:
"Recent development have shown how quickly change can occur. That works both ways: arrangements can fall apart as fast as they can be put together. Accordingly I have asked my officials in the Recovery Board to prepare contingency plans which we can implement urgently if recovery falters and/or the alliance fails. Those plans would have drastic and possible permanent consequences for the council and its current membership. It is in everyone's interests to ensure that they are never needed."
This is a clear though veiled warning that if the current structure fails then the council will be taken over completely by the Welsh Assembly Government and run from Cardiff. Although this blog is often a critic of Anglesey County Council it also recognises that local people are best served by having decisions about services which affect them taken locally by their elected representatives. Accordingly the Druid hopes that all Councillors will heed Carl Sargeant's warning and none will be so stupid as to 'press the nuclear button' which would lead to the collapse of current arrangements and a WAG take over. It is sad that I should need to write this, but it is time for Councillors to put Anglesey first.
You can read the full letter below:
Letter to all Anglesey Councillors from Carl Sargeant
UPDATE: Cllr Barrie Durkin, one of the councillors "named and shamed" in the Alliance's Terms of Engagement has sent the below open reply to Carl Sargeant's above letter:
Cllr Barrie Durkin's reply to Carl Sargeant