Caerphilly MP Wayne David has called for the former chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council to pay back the salary he received while suspended on full pay.
Anthony O’Sullivan was first suspended on full pay of £137,000 a year in 2013, after he was accused of ordering unlawful pay rises for himself and colleagues.
Speaking in a business debate in the House of Commons on Thursday, October 17, Mr David MP said: “At long last, Mr O’Sullivan has now been dismissed by the council for gross misconduct.
“But for over six years Mr O’Sullivan has been on full pay and has received over £800,000 from the council, even though he has done no work.
“Caerphilly County Borough Council has had no alternative, but to abide by the law, but I believe if Mr O’Sullivan had any sense of morality and decency, he would repay the salary he has received for doing absolutely nothing.
“Can I ask the Leader of the House, if he will allow a debate to take place about how a situation like this could have arisen, and to make sure it never happens again?”
A special meeting of full council on Thursday, October 3, decided to endorse the findings of the authority’s disciplinary committee and dismissed Mr O’Sullivan on the grounds of gross misconduct following a lengthy investigation.
Two others involved in the scandal, deputy chief executive Nigel Barnett and head of legal Daniel Perkins were paid off after criminal charges were dropped against the trio. The council could not reach an agreement with Mr O’Sullivan.
As a result, a designated independent person (DIP) was appointed by the Welsh Government in 2017 to look into the allegations. The DIP’s report was considered by the disciplinary committee.
The saga has cost the authority more than £4.1 million in salaries and legal expenses.
Speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday, October 8, Caerphilly AM Hefin 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.
“He was sacked last week after being found by the whole council of being guilty of gross misconduct. There were concerns raised about the way he was appointed by the then Plaid Cymru-led authority, when the post wasn’t advertised to external competition. That rule was changed in 2014 by the Labour Welsh Government.”
South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar described the situation as “unacceptable” and said: “This situation cannot be allowed to occur again in the future at huge cost to the public and to the lives and reputations of the individuals involved.”
South Wales East AM Delyth Jewell put the blame on Labour, saying: “They should apologise to local residents for squandering around £6m on the senior officers’ pay scandal while the council has been making cuts to leisure centres, police stations, public toilets and street lighting.
“The recent suspension and subsequent resignation of David Poole as council leader following accusations he may have broken rules on shareholding is further proof that the council is in crisis and should be put in special measures by the Welsh Government.”