Second Caerphilly council boss suspended in pay rise inquiry

Chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan and his deputy Nigel Barnett Chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan and his deputy Nigel Barnett have been suspended

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The acting chief executive of Caerphilly council has been suspended as police investigate pay rises given to executives.

Nigel Barnett has been removed from post "pending the outcome of these investigations", said the council.

He was quizzed by police earlier this week along with former chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan who has been suspended since March.

A council meeting is being held next week to "consider a way forward".

Mr O'Sullivan and Mr Barnett have been questioned by Avon and Somerset Police amid claims "secret" pay rises were awarded to 21 senior council bosses.

In a statement issued on Thursday, councillor Harry Andrews, leader of Caerphilly council said: "In light of recent developments, the acting chief executive has recognised the difficulty that this creates in terms of him fulfilling his responsibilities as head of paid service and that his continued attendance at work would not be appropriate at this time.

"He has been suspended from his duties pending the outcome of these investigations.

"I would like to assure residents that Caerphilly County Borough Council has a first class workforce and we are determined to continue to deliver high quality services to all sections of the community."

Police were called in after a Wales Audit Office (WAO) report said the council had acted unlawfully.

Attention about Mr O'Sullivan's pay grade was initially sparked when his salary increased from £132,000 to £158,000.

A special full council meeting will take place on Thursday 11 July for councillors to "consider a way forward", said council leader Mr Andrews.

Avon and Somerset Police were asked by the Gwent force to look at the WAO findings because of its "working relationship" with the council.

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