Caerphilly council chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan has his pay rise cut by 16 per cent
AN INFLATION-BUSTING pay hike for Caerphilly council's top boss was cut from 20 per cent to four per cent a heated council meeting tonight.
Chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan will see his pay go up from £131,645 to £137,000, where it will stay for the remaining four years of the Labour party's term.
He had been in line to receive a pay rise of up to £27,000, taking his wage to £147,000.
The move was voted for by councillors after Labour councillor for St Cattwg's, Hefin David, said the move was a compromise to prevent "armageddon" if alternatives were implemented.
Opposition leader Colin Mann called for the decision to be rescinded and the debate to return to square one, saying the hikes have "caused public outrage and had a devastating effect on morale."
Cllr David said the issue has caused "significant organisational damage at every level" and this proposal is the best way of avoiding "astronomical legal costs" if Mr O'Sullivan and other senior officers took action against their pay increase being withdrawn.
Cllr David said this proposal could lead to "armageddon" and cause the local authority to fall into special measures as it would leave top officers at odds with the council.
The full council met to discuss controversial inflation-busting pay hikes for its top officers that were rubber-stamped in a behind-closed-doors meeting in September.
Mr O’Sullivan left last night's meeting before discussions started to avoid any conflict of interest after he had written the report which recommended the increases.
In all, 16 senior staff had pay hikes of up to 20 per cent.
The issue has caused huge controversy, with 600 council staff already taking part in a one-hour walk-out in protest.
The decision was made as part of an exempt item which went before the council’s remuneration committee and not made public.
However, after the document was leaked to the Argus, union bosses made their disdain clear, pointing to the fact all other staff are experiencing a pay freeze and Mr O’Sullivan’s rise equates to two years salary for some council employees.
Monitoring officer Dan Perkins said last night that St Martins councillor James Fussell, who sat on the renumeration panel, has been referred to the Public Services Ombudsman, but would not say what for.
An argument ensued at the meeting with Labour members claiming the decision made by the renumeration panel was unanimous but Plaid pointed out that Cllr Fussell had on gone on record saying he voted against the proposals.
The renumeration panel was disbanded last night and all future pay discussions will now be taken by the full council.