Doubt has been cast over the imminent appointment of Cardiff council leader Heather Joyce’s new £80,000 adviser.
A policy manager from a London borough was selected a fortnight ago by a cross-party panel of five councillors for the newly-created job.
The successful candidate beat competition from a short-list of four, including the council’s current head of scrutiny, Mike Davies.
The interview panel comprised of Coun Joyce and two of her Labour group colleagues, as well as one councillor each from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Following the interviews and deliberation, a nomination for the post was made by Tory group leader David Walker.
The selection was supported by the Lib-Dem’s Margaret Jones and the Labour cabinet member for adult services, Luke Holland.
Coun Joyce, however, voted for Mr Davies, as did Labour’s Splott councillor Gretta Marshall.
Subsequently, a complaint was lodged by one Labour member of the panel against Coun Walker, alleging he had made a pre-determined decision, according to sources.
The council has called in solicitors from Wales’ biggest law firm, Hugh James, to investigate the complaint, which has stalled the appointment.
A council spokeswoman confirmed a complaint had been received by chief executive Jon House, who recently quit to join PricewaterhouseCoopers.
She said: “Hugh James have provided all our advice in these matters and therefore it is efficient and sensible to use them.”
Coun Walker told the Echo: ‘It is scandalous that Labour challenges to the leader Heather Joyce’s authority will lead to further taxpayer expense.
“Bringing in expensive consultants to resolve this party conflict is disgraceful and totally unnecessary.”
According to the job advertisement, the job of head of cabinet office will be to advise Coun Joyce and her cabinet on policy and the public relations strategy.