Caerphilly council 'has come a long way' - chief

Campaign Series: Stuart Rosser Stuart Rosser

CAERPHILLY council’s interim chief executive gave a rallying speech to members at a meeting on Tuesday, saying the authority had come “a long way” in the past year.

Stuart Rosser praised the work of the makeshift senior management team, but said he would need to give “serious thought” to employing senior officers on a full-time basis.

Despite this, Mr Rosser recommended extending the contract of Sandra Aspinall as acting deputy chief executive and Nicole Scammell as acting director for corporate services for a further three months, which was approved by members.

Mr Rosser said this would give him time to evaluate the current arrangements in light of the news that three senior officers of the authority were recently charged by police.

Last month, the council’s chief executive Anthony O’Sullivan and his deputy Nigel Barnett were charged with misconduct in a public office. Daniel Perkins, the head of legal services, was also reported for summons. Avon and Somerset Police began investigating Mr O’Sullivan and Mr Barnett, currently suspended, after pay rises of up to 20 per cent were made to top council officers.

Mr Rosser, who will stay in his current position until July, said the complexity of the case meant court proceedings could exceed 12 months.He said: “Staff morale reached rock bottom 12 months ago, but we have come a long way. That’s not me being blasé – we have a long way to go.”

At the meeting, the council’s deputy leader, Keith Reynolds, said Mr Rosser had shown “refreshing honesty”, and Plaid councillor and Caerphilly AM Lindsay Whittle gave his full support to the interim chief continuing.

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