Immediately after the meeting which finally saw him sacked as the chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Anthony O’Sullivan told BBC Wales he had “nothing to apologise for”.
He vowed to take the decision to a tribunal to present his side of the story – blaming a “vicious, vilifying media campaign”.
Everything was set for a showdown later this year where the ‘full story’ would come out.
Why now? Only Mr O’Sullivan knows for sure, but there is a school of thought among local Labour members that he may have decided to settle ahead of May’s Senedd election.
After we published news of the settlement online, social media was abuzz with calls for people to “vote Labour out” in May – even though council elections are not until May 2022.
Eight years ago, Caerphilly’s Labour Senedd Member Hefin David, then a councillor, was responsible for negotiating a deal with Mr O’Sullivan to partially reverse the controversial pay rise.
It is safe to say there is no love lost between the two.
Speaking in the Senedd in October 2019, Mr David said: “Disreputable, dishonest and should have been dismissed long ago – these are the views of Caerphilly residents about Anthony O’Sullivan, the disgraced and now finally dismissed chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council.”
Rightly, or wrongly, Mr O’Sullivan feels his reputation has been tarnished over the last eight years.
A criminal investigation of misconduct in a public office came to nothing and there have been claims the Wales Audit Office acted outside of its remit when it declared the original pay rises were unlawful.
The statement released to the media by the council, agreed by Mr O’Sullivan, is telling.
It read: “Mr O’Sullivan is similarly grateful that this lengthy dispute is now resolved so that he and his family can move on.
“This draws to a close a most difficult period for all parties.”
Such is Mr O’Sullivan’s concerns, Caerphilly Observer understands that at the virtual meeting which agreed the £110,700 pay-off, Mr O’Sullivan, through his representatives, warned councillors he would consider legal action against them if they were critical of him in public.
Speaking after the meeting to Caerphilly Observer, Blackwood independent councillor Nigel Dix chose his words carefully.
He told us: “The real losers in all of this are local taxpayers.
“They’ll never get to know the true story because there will be no tribunal.
“There will always be question marks over this issue forever.
“The facts will never come out – that’s the sad thing.”
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