Caerphilly County Borough Council should be put into special measures amid growing concerns about the way the authority is run, say Plaid Cymru.
Cllr Colin Mann, leader of the council’s Plaid group, has urged the Welsh Government to ‘restore public confidence’ by taking control of the authority.
In a letter to local government minister Julie James AM, reference was also made public toilet closures across the borough, and budget overspends regarding improvements to Pwllypant roundabout.
Cllr Mann said: “Public confidence in the authority is shot to pieces and the people of Caerphilly county can’t wait until 2022 to get rid of this appalling administration, which just ignores the views of residents, such as on Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre.
“I’m writing to ask you to put the authority in special measures, as has happened in the NHS in Wales, and take control of the authority for a period of time to restore public confidence in local government in Caerphilly.”
Ongoing discontent within the Islwyn Constituency Labour Party (CLP) is also mentioned, with members submitting an official complaint about Caerphilly council’s cabinet to Welsh Labour.
The complaint claims senior councillors had ‘deliberately misled us, ignored the views of the CLP, and whose actions have brought this constituency party into disrepute’.
A council spokesman said the authority was subject to detailed and regular security by statutory bodies such as the Wales Audit Office.
“We are a well-run and financially stable organisation and we pride ourselves on our prudent budget management and effective service delivery,” he added.
Cllr Gez Kirby, Labour group spokesman, said: “I think the minister has more important things to focus on than a Plaid Cymru ‘silly season’ attempt at attention-grabbing.
“The senior officer disciplinary case is close to resolution. The Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre closure can’t be resolved until a forthcoming Court of Appeal hearing.
“Further works at the Pwllypant roundabout are regrettable, but the nationalists are clutching at straws.
“Our Labour-led Caerphilly Council continues to deliver valued services for all our residents every day.”
The Welsh Government confirmed receipt of Cllr Mann’s Letter and said an intervention in the running of a council would be a ‘last resort’ which required conclusive evidence of statutory failings.
But a spokeswoman admitted that they were ‘disappointed’ that the investigation into the council’s chief executive, Anthony O’Sullivan, remained unresolved six years on.
“We have been clear that once the current process underway at the council has been completed, we will begin a review to consider whether the law on internal disciplinary proceedings needs to be changed,” said the spokeswoman.
Mr O’Sullivan remains on special paid leave after initially being suspended on full pay in March 2013 following allegations of misconduct.
The council has continued to pay Mr O’Sullivan ever since criminal charges levelled against him, his deputy Nigel Barnett and head of legal services Daniel Perkins, were dropped in 2015.
A council investigating and disciplinary committee has been considering the findings of the designated independent person (DIP) assigned by the Welsh Government to investigate the dispute.
Council leader Dave Poole is expected to give an update on the committee’s progress on Tuesday July 30.