A long-running dispute involving pay rises for senior officers at Caerphilly County Borough Council will have cost taxpayers £4.1 million by next year.
Councillors will be asked to set aside an extra £242,000 to pay for the investigation and the salary of former chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan.
Mr O’Sullivan, together with deputy chief executive Nigel Barnett and head of legal Daniel Perkins, was suspended on full pay in March 2013 following allegations of misconduct.
The charges were dropped before trial in 2015, with Caerphilly Council agreeing to pay-outs of £171,000 and £127,000 for Mr Barnett and Mr Perkins in October last year.
But the authority has yet to reach an agreement with Mr O’Sullivan, with the head of the investigation estimating that it will take until March 2019 at the earliest to resolve the issue.
Council leader David Poole said: “It’s disappointing and hugely frustrating that we are being asked to provide further funding to allow this investigation to reach a conclusion.
“We are facing significant cuts over the next few years and none of us want to see our shrinking budgets being diverted away from frontline services.
“Unfortunately, we are bound by a statutory process which is completely outside of our control and it is absolutely essential that we fully comply with relevant employee legislation.”
Last April, the council agreed to pay £193,000 for Mr Sullivan’s salary and the costs of the investigation by a Welsh Government-appointed official, known as a designated independent person (DIP).
But the payments only covered the period up to December 31, and councillors will now be asked to approve the release of further funding to last up until July 31 next year.
This includes £108,000 towards Mr Sullivan’s salary and £134,000 towards the legal costs of the DIP’s investigation.
The meeting will take place on Thursday, December 13, with the authority due to meet again in July to review the situation.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly Council, said: “The public will be staggered to learn that by next July nearly £4.2m will have been spent on this investigation.
“But the true cost of the senior officers’ pay scandal is actually close to £6m when the cost of pay increases to 20 senior officers over more than six years – which sparked this whole controversy – are taken into account. And during this time the chief executive has pocketed more than £1.1m while staying at home.
“This is public money that could have been spent on frontline services. It could have paid for at least one new primary school. Remember, also there is also an imminent threat to leisure centres at Pontllanfraith and Cefn Fforest and other vital public services.
“I have no confidence that this matter will be resolved by the end of July, 2019, and I fear it could go on much longer. This whole debacle has been a stain on Caerphilly and the ruling Labour group has been in complete control of the authority throughout this mess.”