The eight councillors who represent Penarth wards on the Vale of Glamorgan Council have all now completed their officially-required register of member’s interests – which is more than can be said of Penarth’s town councillors.
The councillors are required to reveal a lot more than the very limited information which appeared in their respective election flyers – although some might say it would be better if this information had been made public before elections, rather than afterwards.
The councillors have to reveal how they earn income [over and above the salaries they are paid by the Vale of Glamorgan Council] , what organisations they belong to, what public offices they hold and whether they own land or property anywhere in the Vale.
Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) declares that she is the chair of the Cardiff South and Penarth Constituency Labour Party . She is also chair of the Penarth Branch of the Labour Party.
Cllr Birch, records that she has a “beneficial interest” in two homes in Penarth, is employed as teacher at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff and is a member of the teaching union NASUWT.
Cllr Birch is a “twin-hatted” councillor who also has a seat on Penarth Town Council.
Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour Stanwell) – lost her £32,991 a-year position as Deputy Leader of Vale Council when the Labour administration was kicked out of office in the May elections. Now she states she is a “self employed consultant” .
Cllr Burnett declares she is a member of the management board of the Wales Co-operative Centre and is a trustee of Barry YMCA. Cllr Burnett is no longer a “twin-hatted” councillor [with a seat on both Vale and on Penarth Town Council] and did not stand for re-election to the town council in May
Cllr Ben Gray (Conservative Plymouth Ward) gives his line of work as “freelance stage / event manager” and is employed by the “Ben Gray Consultancy “.
Cllr Gray is a trustee of the Forest of Dean Steam Railway and – perhaps surprisingly – belongs to two media trade unions Equity and BECTU . He is also a member of the local choral group the Cavatina Singers. Cllr Gray is a “twin-hatted” councillor who is also a member of Penarth Town Council.
Cllr Peter King (Labour Cornerswell) is employed by Cardiff Council as a “Technical Assistant” dealing with asbestos records and is a “twin hatted” councillor serving on Llandough Community Council. Cllr King is a member of the UNISON trade union and is its representative on the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Local Government Pension Scheme. He is also a member of a pressure group – the “Motorcycle Action Group”.
Cllr Kathryn McCaffer (Conservative Plymouth Ward) has part-time agency-employment as a new homes sales advisor for a firm called Celtic Horizons. Celtic Horizons is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United Welsh Housing Association Ltd – a mutual company which provides social housing and describes itself as a charity . [ Cllr McCaffer is the daughter of Penarth Town Councillor Martin Turner and of former Vale Councillor Dorothy Turner]. She is also a “twin-hatted” Penarth Town Councillor .
Cllr Ruba (a.k.a. Sivaruby) Sivagnanam (Labour St Augustines) declares that she is employed by Labour MP Stephen Doughty as a “senior case worker” . She belongs to the GMB trade union and says she is also a member the “Bar Association”. [ The lawyers’ body in the UK is called the “Bar Council”] .
Cllr Sivagnanam is an executive member of the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Labour Party and a trustee of a charity called “Re-Live” [The Charity Commission says that accounts for this charity for the year ending March 2016 were “qualified”] . Cllr Sivagnanam was also – at the time of the May 4th local elections – a member of the board of Penarth Headland Link Ltd but resigned on May 8th and therefore did not need to declare that former interest on the Vale Member’s Register – which was completed on May 23rd.
Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour St Augustines) declares that he is “retired” and is a member of the British Association of Social Workers.
Up until this year’s elections Cllr Thomas was a Penarth Town councillor – representing his home ward of Cornerswell – but lost his Penarth Town Council seat on May 4th .
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) declares that he is employed as a lecturer for “Cardiff and Vale Council” – [the form should state “Cardiff and Vale College”]. He also states he is the secretary of the Glyndwr Community Association and a trustee of the Economics and Business Enterprise Association. Cllr Wilson also belongs to Penarth Town Council, is the Press Officer for the Penarth Labour Party, the chairperson of Penarth Fairtrade Forum and – as far as trade union affiliations are concerned – is “University College Union Cardiff and Vale College chairperson” . He also belongs to Penarth British Legion.
Unlike the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Penarth Town Council has yet to publish the register of interests of all its members – as it is legally required to do within 28 days of the elections.