By Nicholas Thomas
Fresh questions have been raised by councillors about the appointment of a new city centre manager for Newport.
The role was a key Labour manifesto pledge for the 2022 local government elections, at which the party retained control of the city council.
The city centre manager would lead a strategy on regenerating central Newport and encouraging future investment, the party said at the time.
The council has remained tight-lipped about the role in recent weeks, despite rumours the post had been filled.
Several sources have told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that a city centre manager has been appointed.
But at a full council meeting on Tuesday, attempts to gain more information were shut down by senior council officers.
Allan Morris, an independent councillor for the Lliswerry ward, asked council leader Jane Mudd whether she was “satisfied all proper procedures were followed” in the reported appointment.
Cllr Mudd distanced herself from the matter, explaining to Cllr Morris “there is no councillor involvement in the appointment of officers below the head of service level” and advising him to redirect his request to the council’s head of paid service or monitoring officer.
That was followed by remarks from chief executive Beverly Owen, who is also the head of paid service, who said she was “not prepared… to discuss any specific or individual appointments in full council” and told councillors to direct such queries to officers “in private”.
Another officer added: “We can’t discuss officers because they can be identified, and there are data protection issues, so we can’t discuss this any further [in the meeting].”