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Blackwood set for council by-election

Published in News at 10:14, Wednesday April 23rd, 2014. Last updated at 12:52, Friday April 25th, 2014

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CANDIDATES: Plaid Cymru’s Andrew Farina-Childs and Labour’s Allan Rees

CANDIDATES: Plaid Cymru’s Andrew Farina-Childs and Labour’s Allan Rees

Voters in Blackwood will decide on a new councillor during a by-election on April 24.

Labour’s Diana Ellis stood down in February for family reasons and Plaid Cymru, Labour, Conservative and Independent candidates will go head-to-head for the seat.

Labour Party candidate Allan Rees, who is a social worker, said: “I have spent the last ten years working with the most vulnerable and impoverished people in South Wales and have worked in local authorities for four years.

“I have a very good feel for the communities of Blackwood and Caerphilly. What voters are looking for are people with good life experience. Teachers and firemen, for example, should be elected as councillors.”

He added: “There has been nothing that says what Plaid Cymru are standing for in Blackwood, just an attack on the Labour Party.”

Mr Rees, who is standing for the first time, faces Plaid Cymru candidate Andrew Farina-Childs who is a school governor at Blackwood Comprehensive School and is a parent member of Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Education for Life Scrutiny Committee.

Mr Farina-Childs said: “I want to represent the residents of Blackwood and be a strong effective voice for the whole community. I have a proven record as a local campaigner and as a Town Councillor.

“However I do believe that the people of Blackwood need to be informed of current issues that will affect everyone such as the scandal which has brought Caerphilly County Borough Council unwanted attention across the UK.

“This could all have been avoided if the Labour Cabinet had not pushed through the senior officers’ pay hike. The campaign I am running is an honest and factual one and not a negative one as suggested by the Labour candidate.”

Other candidates include Cameron Muir-Jones of the Welsh Conservatives and independent Keith Smallman.

• Caerphilly County Borough Council have urged residents to register to vote in the upcoming European Parliamentary elections.

The elections take place on May 22 and voters will elect four MEPs to represent Wales in Europe.

Stuart Rosser, Caerphilly’s Electoral Registration Officer, said: “People are talking about the elections, but you’ll only be able to have your say on who represents you in the European Parliament if you’re registered to vote by the deadline of Tuesday May 6.

“Even if you think you’ve already registered, it’s really important to double check. Many people think they are automatically registered because they pay council tax, but this isn’t true. If you’re unsure, you can call the council to check.”

To register visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk or call 01443 864203.

Look out for Caerphilly Observer’s profile of the European candidates in a future edition.

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  • Cllr James Pritchard

    Plaid would have some credibility on senior pay rises if they had registered their opposition at the time. They had an elected member sitting on the committee but did he vote against it? They were perfectly content at the time and offered no opposition. If they were opposed to the pay increases then they would have voted against it. They have no credibility whatsoever when it comes to senior pay.

  • Cllr Richard Williams

    I agree with Cllr. Pritchard, for Plaid Cymru to use this as an election issue is disengenuous. Are they really saying they are absolved of any responsibility for the senior officers pay scandal when their deputy leader sat on the remuneration panel?

    I find this hard to believe and I am sure the voters of Blackwood will find it difficult to swallow too.

  • Trefor Bond

    Mr Farina-Childs said:in this article , “The people of Blackwood need to be informed of current issues that will affect everyone such as the scandal which has brought Caerphilly County Borough Council unwanted attention across the UK.”,.and, “This could all have been avoided if the Labour Cabinet had not pushed through the senior officers’ pay hike.

    Actually, I think you will find that it could all have been avoided if it did`nt employ senior staff who are prepared to act `unlawfully`, ( who appointed them?) bad judgment I suppose?.

    And further, it could have been avoided if members of the secret band of five, sub-committee, including Plaid Cymru`s Deputy Leader on the Council, had actually properly considered what these chief officers were asking them to consider, weighed all the pros and cons, and VOTED AGAINST IT. we are informed that NO-ONE at that meeting voted against the hike in pay. So it is a bit rich that Plaid Cymru are claiming the high ground in that debate. If Mr Farina-Childs is robust in his election presentation that he wants to represent all the residents of his particular area and be a strong and effective voice for the whole of the community he really has to be careful in raising such issues, in which, his deputy leader was involved.

    No single party wins on this issue, so, would it not be best to keep it out an election campaign????

  • Allan Rees

    I was a little taken aback by Plaids last leaflet of sweeping statements aimed at scaremongering the electorate by bending the truth. First Cancer Careline, Aneurin Bevan Health Board were the first to cut £12k from Cancercareline which had a “domino effect” on the charity. ABHB apparently argued that the charity was duplicating services, when they are actually commissioned work by the bigger cancer charities. Plaid have blamed Labour Completely for the whole cut! The Blackwood Labour team Cllr Nigel Dix, Cllr Pat, Lord Don Touhig (the Charity’s President), Gwyn Price AM and Chris Evans MP have been lobbying to get this case reheard and have done really well.

    The Chief Executives pay, I was appalled with PLAID’s attempt to smear Labour in this byelection, being a good candidate I read up on this and was ready to discuss it on the doors. Bottom line PLAID employed the chief Executive who under them did a lot of negative things that also cost a lot of money. Here’s some points I pulled from the Wales Audit Office’s report:

    This Plaid Appointed Executive had:
    •A greater risk appetite (point 25)
    •Reduced Senior Management with reduced capacity (Point 26)
    •Less collaboration (Point 27)
    •He wanted to move things quickly. (29)
    •There was an adverse effect on accountability. (31)
    •Some councillors expressed concern that they did not have time to understand the decisions they had to make. (44)

    Nobody in the Plaid camp stood up to this when THEY were the ones in control of the council. That was their role of being accountable.

    To finish off:

    “The tone at the top of the organisation changed with the appointment of a new Chief Executive in September 2010” – Wales Audit Office, Special Inspection January 2014.

    Says enough really.