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Councillor failed to declare interest over pay hikes which son benefited from.

A CABINET member at the council where senior managers were given huge pay rises has been strongly criticised for not declaring that his son benefited from the increases.

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Staff at Caerphilly council on the third year of a pay freeze are furious about pay rises of up to 30% awarded to 20 senior managers by a committee of five councillors in September. Chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan received an increase of up to PS35,000, bringing his annual salary up to PS158,000.

One of the managers to receive a pay rise was Gareth Hardacre, the council's head of human resources and organisational development. He was present at the behind-closed-doors meeting of the Senior Remuneration Committee on September 5 when rises for top managers, including himself, were approved. Mr Hardacre's father is Labour councillor David Hardacre, the Cabinet member for performance and asset management.

David Hardacre is not a member of the Senior Remuneration Committee, but when the minutes of the committee meeting were approved, and the decision to award the rises was ratified, at a full council meeting on October 9, he did not declare an interest.

When we asked him why he had not done so, Mr Hardacre said: "There was no debate - the item was approved without discussion.

"If there had been any debate, I would immediately have declared an interest."

When told there was a likelihood he could be reported to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales over his decision not to declare an interest, Mr Hardacre said he would seek guidance from the council's monitoring officer.

A spokeswoman for the office of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said: "Our view is that the obligation to declare an interest arises if a member has a personal interest in a matter which is being considered at a meeting that they attend."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 15, 2012
Words:305
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