A cabinet member has apologised for failing to turn up to a key meeting last week, to discuss Powys County Council’s finances.
Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies, was expected to turn up to a meeting of the Finance Panel on Friday, April 9.
At the meeting he would have answered questions from senior councillors and chairmen of scrutiny committee on the financial position of the 2020/21 budget as it stood at the end of February.
He would also have needed to explain how extra funding received by the council from the Welsh Government, had allowed the Independent/Conservative cabinet to drop proposals for this years Council Tax from 3.9 per cent to 2.9 per cent.
And also how the Cabinet had been able to come up with £1.8 million for a Covid Recovery Fund which was also approved at a council meeting on February 25.
Head of finance, Jane Thomas was left to answer all the questions posed by councillors.
Cllr Roger Williams, (Felinfach – Liberal Democrat), said: “This has been a good meeting and a lot of good points have been raised that need further consideration.
“But the quality has been affected by the absence of the cabinet member with responsibility for finance,
“Quite honestly, I think it’s disrespectful to the committee and his officers that they are left to field questions which should be fielded by himself.
“He is paid really to respond and be accountable to the committee.”
Cllr Williams believed that only “extraordinary personal circumstances” should prevent him from attending, and wanted the panel to inform Cllr Davies that he has a duty to turn up.
Cllr James Gibson-Watt, leader of the Liberal Democrat and Green group, (Glasbury) said: “The issue here is that a lot of questions that have a political angle has been asked and it’s not right that Jane (Thomas) has to answer those, they are for a politician to answer and be held accountable for.”
Finance panel chairman, John Brautigam, said: “I don’t know the particular circumstances for his non-attendance, but we will certainly make the point.”
A few days later at a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, April 13, Cllr Davies, who is number four on the Conservative Senedd Election regional list for Mid and West Wales, went through the finance report and issued an apology.
Cllr Davies, (Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochanant & Llansilin), said: “Jane (Thomas) took this forecast to the Finance panel on Friday, and I must apologise again that I was unable to attend there.
“I had local council issues in my ward on that day.”
The last publicly availabe figures for councillors allowances and expenses are from 2019/20 and shows that Cllr Davies received £42,258 in his role as a councillor, cabinet member and deputy council leader.