Caerphilly chief executive pay saga means rules need reform, says first minister

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Anthony O’Sullivan has said he has nothing to apologise for

The first minister has vowed to reform the rules followed by a Welsh council which sacked its chief executive after a six-year-long suspension on full pay.

Mark Drakeford said the case of former Caerphilly chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan showed the “system clearly has not worked”.

He said it was “not right” that “senior officers are able to frustrate the process”.

Mr O’Sullivan was suspended in 2013 – he intends to appeal his sacking.

Caerphilly council’s Anthony O’Sullivan was suspended in March 2013 after claims over wage increases for him and two other senior officers.

He was sacked for gross misconduct last week.

It was claimed that at a meeting in September 2012, Mr O’Sullivan, his deputy Nigel Barnett and head of legal services Daniel Perkins authorised a 20% pay rise for senior officers, while most other staff had a pay freeze.

After criminal charges were dropped in 2015, the two other men agreed payouts worth £300,000 between them.

Mr O’Sullivan has been on special leave for three years.

It has meant he has been paid his salary of £137,000 a year for six-and-a-half years without turning up to work.

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It is thought the row cost the taxpayer £4m

He has previously told BBC Wales that he has “nothing to apologise for”.

Experts say they believe the Caerphilly saga is the longest-running disciplinary case of its kind in local government that they can remember.

The row is thought to have cost the council more than £4m.

Mark Drakeford said his government will move “rapidly to a review”.

“The system clearly has not worked,” he told a press conference. “The system clearly needs to be reformed.”

He said it was “not right” that “senior officers are able to frustrate the process”.

“The system we have has not stood the test of its clash with reality”, Mr Drakeford told a press conference.

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