A CONTROVERSIAL decision to spend more than £28,000 on a luxury car for Powys County Council’s new chairman was taken without councillors’ knowledge.
Any decisions on the purchase or lease of new cars at the council will now have to go before the democratic services committee following a heated debate during a full council meeting last week, during which the leader of the council Cllr Rosemarie Harris admitted she was not involved in the decision.
Councillors voted for a change to the rules and for a review into the civic duties of the chairman after it was revealed that the council had purchased an Audi A6 SE Executive 2.0 TDi Ultra for the new chairman, Cllr Dai Davies, who can only drive automatic vehicles because of a disability.
Llanbrynmair councillor Elwyn Vaughan, who labelled the move “insulting”, claimed the car cost £37,000, but the council’s chief executive Jeremy Patterson has said it would in fact cost £28,804, although he admitted the car’s value is £37,444.
Cllr Vaughan tabled a motion calling on the council to end its practice of providing a car for the chairman.
Mr Patterson told councillors the council was required to provide an automatic car for Cllr Davies in order to make “reasonable adjustments”, as required by law, and that the purchase of the Audi would work out “significantly cheaper” than other options, including paying Cllr Davies mileage to use his own car.
Mr Patterson said the council based its calculations on a number of factors, including the value depreciation of the Audi compared to a Skoda Superb, which would have cost £25,508, and also the fuel efficiency.
Cllr Gwilym Williams suggested an amendment to Cllr Vaughan’s motion which would require any matters relating to future car purchase or lease decisions to be brought before the democratic services committee.
See this week’s Machynlleth & Llanidloes edition for the full story, in shops and online now