Caerphilly council to meet over pay row
2:10pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
A MEETING which Caerphilly councillors has been forced to hold to discuss an “unlawful” pay rise within the authority’s top ranks takes place on Thursday.
Opposition Plaid Cymru councillors have called for the chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan to resign, calling his position “untenable”.
The authority was criticised in a damning report by the Wales Audit Office earlier this month, in which assistant auditor general Anthony Barrett said the decision to award a 20 per cent pay rise was unlawful “on a number of grounds”.
The decision to give an increase was made on September 5 by a fiveman committee, including both the local authority’s deputy leaders, and was based on a report written by the chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan, leading to his £32,000 increase.
Although this was later reduced to £5,000 following an outcry from unions and a walk-out by staff, the rises for 20 top officers will still cost the authority £1.5 million over the next four years.
The decision was made as part of an exempt item during a senior remuneration committee meeting, which was not properly advertised, Mr Barrett said in his report.
Mr O’Sullivan, who wrote and would be a beneficiary of the proposal, sat in on the meeting, while other officers in line to gain from it – head of legal and governance Dan Perkins and head of human resources Gareth Hardacre – were also present, the report said.
“No declarations of interest were made and these officers did not leave the room while the decision was made,” said Mr Barrett.
“Consequently they participated in the decision-making process when they had a disqualified financial interest.”
The committee has since been disbanded.
At Thursday’s meeting of full council at Penallta House, members must decide if action is necessary.
The matter is being looked into by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, and Avon and Somerset Police. A spokesman for Gwent Police said the matter was referred to a different force in light of the Welsh force’s close proximity and working relationship with Caerphilly council.