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Well, well, Mr James, in a glowing statement from the council, which can only have been written by himself, has announced his retirement, though not until June.Timing, of course, is everything and with his vision of Wellness crumbling around his ears, and the investigators approaching his office door, retirement must seem a better option than forced gardening leave, or police bail. The net is closing and rumour has it he was told to go.

He may enter the revolving door of local government and reappear somewhere as a highly paid consultant, although I would imagine he’s accumulated sufficient wealth, in one way or another, over the past 17 years to retire in luxury. Quite what his golden handshake will be we’ll have to see, though I suspect this little calculation was decided some time ago. Anything over £100k (which it will be) is supposed to have approval from councillors, supposed to.

My ‘tribute’ to Mr James reads somewhat differently. I’ll not go back 17 years but you’ll recall that his days in Boston, including the allegations of bullying and dishonesty, set the scene for Carmarthenshire.
One of his first ports of call here was the local press, announcing exactly how things would be done now he was in charge, he certainly lived up to that.
Things went downhill from then on. He emasculated democracy, bullied his opponents and always selected a pliant and weak Leader to do his bidding. Some may even recall the curious incident of the £5000 in an envelope…

As schools and care homes closed, the council press office flourished as, somewhat ironically it turned out, reputation, not truth or transparency, was his number one priority.
With the mindset of a vindictive and vicious control freak, a largely submissive set of councillors, and a legal department he could call his own, he has been able to do as he wished, help out his mates, and take what he wanted. He is a thief and a fraud and will leave the taxpayer forking out for his follies.

There is, as far as I am concerned, much in the way of unfinished business. The seeking of justice and accountability does not recognise the limits of retirement, and personally I’m unlikely to forget Mr James as he has his name on the deeds of my home, and a monthly Standing Order from my bank account.

What really rocketed Mr James to Private Eye-style infamy was his instigation of my arrest for filming a meeting, the libel indemnity and pension tax avoidance scandals. He has repaid neither. When his pension scam buddy CEO Bryn Parry Jones left Pembrokeshire Council the Wales Audit Office deducted his ill-gotten gains from his exit package. They must do the same with Mr James.

But what about the unlawful libel indemnity? This goes back to 2008 when Mr James in a control freak moment extraordinaire, decided that public money could be used to threaten, silence and sue critics, both the press and the public. This was against the law. It also had all the hallmarks of a slush fund. He has threatened to sue members of the public and councillors ever since, but not, of course, the likes of Private Eye.

Mr James dislike of transparency led to the incident in June 2011. It equates with his theory that anyone who questions his authority, and therefore that of the council, must be a troublemaker and must be dealt with accordingly.

The subsequent libel case, and the counterclaim against me has been widely documented. The judgements will be preserved on dusty shelves, well, online actually, for generations to come. Mr James victory parade was, however, short lived as the WAO finally found its teeth and decided his indemnity was unlawful. And so were the infamous libel clauses, still locked in a suspended stalemate.

This brings us almost to the present day, where Mr James, aided and abetted by Linda Rees Jones and the pliant Emlyn, continues to protect his slush fund. Last year attempts were made to reinstate the suspended clauses. That particular battle is ongoing, earning Mr James another slot in a recent Rotten Boroughs column.

One particularly awful revelation was made in court in 2017 when Mr James was trying to force the sale of my home. In 2012 Mr James had undertaken, in writing, to pay any damages over to the council if he won. This was to sweeten the crooked deal for the blank cheque to countersue. In the 2017 court hearing it was revealed that he’d ‘changed his mind’ and could stuff it in the gutter if he chose. This was a massive breach of trust to his employers but again, nothing happened, apart from another appearance in Private Eye.
This is also unfinished business.

He has gone on to lie to the press about offers to settle then make liberal use of council computers for his own private purposes. A FOI request revealed that eight other employees had been disciplined for the same offence, but not him. He had also tracked councillors emails.

The crowning achievement for Mark James CBE was surely his Rotten Boroughs Shit of the Year award 2016. It was richly deserved and is the accolade of a lifetime for which he will never be forgotten.
Mr James used this as part of his failed complaint against me to the police, yet made not a murmur to Private Eye.

This blog has tracked numerous issues but essentially, the faults of this council lay squarely at his office door. From covered-up scandals to the appalling treatment of whistleblowers, from failed vanity projects to the destruction of democracy, Mr James is guilty.
Regular readers will know that I am not the only one to take this view. And if the comments on the council’s Facebook post are anything to go by, there are more than I thought….! (take a look, before they go..)

He should have been sacked, or locked up out of harms way, long ago, not allowed to avoid censure and retire.

After two years of litigation and a public trial, after more years of court hearings, and all the nonsense with the police, the statements Mr James has provided, and the threats, have shown to me that he is nothing more than a liar, a bully, a perjurer, a perverter of the course of justice and a thief.

He will not be missed. Good riddance.

…is that Emlyn Dole on the end of his nose?