The suspended chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council has lodged a complaint against the Wales Audit Office (WAO), after it ruled that a decision to award pay rises to local authority bosses was unlawful.
Chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan, his deputy Nigel Barnett and head of legal Daniel Perkins were all suspended in 2013 after the WAO report was published by assistant auditor general for Wales Anthony Barrett.
The report found the decision to award secret pay rises to 20 council bosses was unlawful because Mr O’Sullivan had himself written a report recommending the pay rises and that he was present at a secret meeting that agreed them.
The meeting itself, attended by five councillors, was also unlawfully held because it was not publicised beforehand.
The report prompted a police investigation and Mr O’Sullivan, Mr Perkins and Mr Barnett were arrested and charged with misconduct in a public office.
In November last year a judge dismissed the case due to a lack of evidence – prompting criticism of the Crown Prosecution Service from local politicians.
The three remain suspended on full pay while the council carries out its own internal disciplinary investigation.
It has now emerged that Mr O’Sullivan has complained to the WAO questioning Mr Barrett’s qualifications to find that the decision to award the pay rises was unlawful.
The WAO has said it treats all complaints received in confidence.
In a further twist, it has also been reported by the media that Mr O’Sullivan has submitted Freedom of Information requests to the council asking it to release all email correspondence between councillors that refer to him. This is believed to form part of his defence in any potential future disciplinary action by the local authority.
A council spokesperson said: “Following the announcement that criminal proceedings against the three Senior Officers had been dismissed, the council is progressing internal procedures in accordance with the statutory requirements.
“The procedures must be conducted fairly and thoroughly, and therefore are taking time to progress accordingly.”