Monday, 5 January 2015

Sound familiar?

Further details are emerging relating to the charges faced by the former chief executive of Caerphilly Borough Council, Anthony O'Sullivan, as he, his deputy and the council legal officer made a brief court appearance today. The case has been adjourned and no pleas have yet been entered.
The Western Mail has a report here.

There is a single charge of misconduct in public office. The police investigation (by Avon and Somerset), followed a public interest report in 2012 issued by the Wales Audit Office which found that a pay award for the council's top earners had been unlawful.

The charge includes the following allegations that the defendants;

“wilfully misconducted themselves in relation to securing Caerphilly County Borough Council’s approval of a remuneration package for the said council’s chief officers from which they stood to gain for themselves”.

“deliberately failed to publish agenda and reports for a meeting of the said Council’s Senior Remuneration Committee in advance of said meeting”.

“deliberately introduced gratuitous material into one of the reports that was to be considered at said meeting so as to provide an apparent justification for exempting that report from public consideration”.

“deliberately applying a public interest test notice to the reports that were to be considered at said meeting when none was merited, thereby exempting the reports from public consideration”.

All sounding remarkably similar to events in Carmarthenshire?

Failing to leave a meeting, or even declaring an interest when directly gaining financially from a decision? Discussing the report with the 'author' prior to the meeting?

Wording the minutes of a meeting to deliberately mask the true nature of a 'pension arrangement'?

Omitting the libel indemnity from the published agenda on the erroneous grounds it was 'urgent' and thereby removing any possibility that it could be questioned?

Misleading the executive board by misrepresenting advice given in a previous legal opinion and so knowingly exposing the authority to the risk of legal challenge and censure?

Misleading the entire council that both the tax avoidance pension scam and libel indemnity were legal when, in principle and and in practice, they were most definitely not?

The only conclusion I can reach is that Avon and Somerset Police were a damn site more thorough than their colleagues at Gloucestershire Constabulary....

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