Caerphilly Council boss sacked after six year suspension on full £137,000 a year pay

A council chief has been fired after spending more than six years suspended on full pay.

Former Caerphilly County Borough Council chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan was suspended with full pay in March 2013 following allegations he engineered a pay increase for himself along with two other senior officers.

For six and a half years, Mr O'Sullivan has been paid his full £137,000 salary. This is despite not turning up for work once.

Councillors met on Thursday to consider a report recommending he be dismissed ''without notice for gross misconduct.''

The report described his behaviour as ''grossly negligent'' and said he ''wilfully breached his contract.''

After a meeting, held in private, interim council leader Councillor Barbara Jones said a decision was made to ''dismiss Mr O'Sullivan was immediate effect.''

In a statement, she said the council regretted ''the amount of time and money that has been spent on this matter.''

Since his suspension, Mr O'Sullivan has received nearly £900,000 in salary payments.

With legal costs and payouts to the two other officers involved, the cost to the tax payer has been estimated at between £4m and £6m.

Mr O'Sullivan was initially suspended from his role in March 2013 after police said they would investigate complaints about pay rises awarded to senior officers in the council.

He was later found to have acted ''unlawfully'', in the words of the district auditor, through his actions in trying to engineer a pay rise for himself from £132,000 to £158,000 a year.

Details of the pay rises were leaked to the media, and after a public outcry, Mr O'Sullivan's pay rise was reduced to £5,000. His suspension was later changed to ''special leave.''

In 2014, Mr O'Sullivan, deputy chief executive Nigel Barnett and head of legal services Daniel Perkins were charged with the criminal offence of misconduct in a public office, but a judge later dismissed the charges.

Mr Barnett and Mr Perkins both received leverage packaged of £171,000 and £127,000 respectively from the council in October 2017, but Mr O'Sullivan remained on gardening leave.

Last year, Caerphilly council appointed a delegated independent person (DIP) to compile a report recommending actions the authority should take against Mr O'Sullivan.

The report described Mr O'Sullivan's conduct as ''grossly negligent'' and recommend his dismissal.