Wednesday 28 September 2016

Proposal to reveal senior staff pay shot down at IFA council

Published 11/11/2015 | 02:30

Jer Bergin will chair the committee.
Jer Bergin will chair the committee.

A proposal to make details of the salary package of the IFA general secretary available to the executive council has been rejected at a meeting of the farm body.

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The move follows concern raised at a number of regional meetings about the transparency of salary scales for the organisation's top staff.

Members at the council meeting voted in favour of the new remuneration committee which will review the performance and pay of general secretary Pat Smith, and also the compensation for the president of the farm lobby group.

Former Glanbia managing director John Moloney has been nominated to the committee, as previously reported in the Farming Independent.

The appointments to the committee follow calls for transparency and accountability on salary scales made by former IFA chief economist Con Lucey when he stepped down from the IFA's audit committee last year.

Under the changes the remuneration committee will be chaired by national treasurer, Jer Bergin, and members will include the current president Eddie Downey and deputy president Tim O'Leary.

The committee will also agree the compensation for the term of the president, however, the president will not take part in these discussions.

It is understood Mr Smith is in receipt of a substantial six-figure salary package, while the president is also compensated for a full-time position.

However, Carlow IFA county chairman and executive council member Derek Deane tabled the proposal for the general secretary's remuneration to be made known to the executive council in the interests of "transparency".

"We have now come to a point where IFA must be transparent on this issue as it has been raised by several of our members at public meetings," said Mr Deane.

At last week's meeting he pointed out that the salaries of key senior staff in other industry bodies such as the Bord Bia chief executive were available.

It follows 86pc of farmers surveyed at the Ploughing calling for transparency on salaries and expenses of farm leaders.

However, the proposal was rejected at the council meeting.

Mr Deane had argued that the remuneration of key senior management personnel should be detailed separately under new accounting procedures rather than shown in a single remuneration figure.

IFA president Eddie Downey said the issues have been considered carefully, with the executive council voting in favour of the remuneration committee dealing with the pay of the general secretary and the terms of the president.

He stated the IFA will continue to comply fully with accountancy rules and new reporting requirements on key personnel.

Mr Downey said IFA is an extremely well run organisation with very robust management structures and voluntary oversight of all expenditures and our focus is on tackling and delivering on issues facing farmers.

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