CAERPHILLY council was thrown into turmoil yet again tonight with members claiming it had become the "laughing stock of Wales."

A recommendation announced earlier this week to bring back a former chief executive to run the council in the wake of the arrest and suspension of two key officers, was suddenly withdrawn this evening.

On Tuesday the council released a statement saying that former chief executive Stuart Rosser was the preferred choice to stand in as head of paid services in the wake of the arrest and suspension of chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan and his deputy Nigel Barnett.

Council Leader Harry Andrews was quoted recommending his appointment, in a statement issued after a question from the Argus.

The same recommendation was included in the agenda for tonight's special council meeting to debate the issue. It also stated Mr Rosser had agreed to return to the council on a three or 3.5 day working week for six months, at a cost of up to £65,000.

But as councillors arrived at Ty Penallta they were handed a new agenda recommending that the post be advertised, leaving members fuming.

Cllr Lindsay Whittle said: "We are in an even worse mess now. The papers were full of the news Stuart Rosser was coming back to ride the ship. It’s frightening, we’re the laughing stock of Wales."

Plaid Cymru leader Colin Mann said: "The future of the council is in the balance if this doesn’t work. We could go into special measures. There is a feeling from many we should already be there."

And Penyrheol’s Margaret Sargent asked why, if Mr Rosser is the favoured candidate, "we are wasting everyone’s time?"

Now the position of interim head of paid services will be advertised until next Wednesday before applicants are considered by full council on July 23.

When Nelson’s Anne Blackman asked how a head of paid services differs from a chief executive, she was told that a job description would not be created until after the meeting.

Cllrs Dave Rees and Rob Gough maintained the new head must be full-time.

Cllr Robin Woodyatt said "it is time for unity".

Members voted to advertise the role. Acting deputy chief executive Sandra Aspinall will continue until an appointment is made.

- AVON and Somerset police were called in to investigate after a Wales Audit Office report found that pay rises to top officers of up to 20 per cent were unlawful.

The rises saw hundreds of council staff, who have seen their own pay frozen for three years, walk out in disgust.

Mr O’Sullivan was suspended in March after the investigation was launched, with his deputy Nigel Barnett assuming control.

Mr Barnett was also suspended last week after he was arrested as well, both men were questioned on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office and are on bail.