Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Council official's legal threat

Anglesey council office at Llangefni
Statutory legal powers could be used to force an Anglesey council debate

A simmering row over an audit report on Anglesey council has led to one of its own officials threatening to use legal powers against it.

Anglesey council is already under scrutiny by the auditor general for Wales, Jeremy Colman.

The council's monitoring officer Lyn Ball told a meeting on Thursday that she may be forced to use powers to insist they discuss the issue.

Opposition groups walked out of the meeting after a debate was rejected.

Council chairman Aled Morris Jones said a procedural point prevented discussions on the findings of the report by the Wales Audit Office (WAO).

The annual letter from the WAO warned of "difficulties in working relationships between some executive members and some senior officers" which it felt was having a "a detrimental impact on the council and its ability to fulfil the general best value duty".

The report has led to a full inspection of the council management by Mr Colman.

At Thursday's council meeting, members voted to accept the WAO report without discussion, prompting opposition parties to boycott the rest of the proceedings.

On Wednesday, members of the council's executive committee staged their own walkout of the council's audit committee.

But Thursday's developments led the council's monitoring officer, Lyn Ball, to accuse the council chairman of "riding a coach and horses" through the council's constitution.

She was also refused the opportunity to offer members legal advice, and warned that she may now have to use legal powers to call meetings until the councillors finally discuss the audit report.

The chair of the council's own audit committee, Cliff Everett, was also prevented from addressing Thursday's meeting.

He has responded to the latest developments by warning that he is prepared to "go public" with evidence relating to allegations of bullying and intimidation within the authority.

The findings of Mr Colman's inspection are expected to be published in June.

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SEE ALSO
Official's councillors complaint
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Council faces audit investigation
29 Jan 09 |  North West Wales
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20 Jan 09 |  North West Wales

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