Business Irish

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Top civil servant may earn €1.6m at Euro quango

Bank bailout mandarin in plum move to Europe

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

KEVIN Cardiff, the mandarin at the controls of the misfiring Department of Finance as the IMF came in, may earn close to €1.6m from his new plum job in Europe.

Last week, it emerged that Cardiff, who became secretary-general in the Department of Finance in January 2010, was to be nominated as Ireland's member on the board of the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg.

It's one of the cushiest jobs in Europe, especially for gastronomes, as Luxembourg has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any other country in the world.

Cardiff joined the civil service in 1984, entering the Finance Department three years later. He served as head of the financial services division, which played a key role on the State's policy in the boom years and as the banking sector imploded. Cardiff was one of the top officials at the time of the bank-guarantee scheme, which bailed out the banks and bondholders in September 2008.

As secretary-general of the woefully inadequate department, Cardiff had his pay cut to a mere €200,000 under government austerity measures. He is not entitled to severance pay but is entitled to a retirement lump sum from the department. But he is in line for a pay bonanza in the new job.

Figures provided to the Sunday Independent by the European Court of Auditors reveal Cardiff's basic salary will be "104 per cent" of a grade A1 official -- or between €191,000 and €203,000 per year. This works out at €1.22m over the six-year term.

But there's plenty of gravy for eurocrats, too. The documents show that he could earn around €27,000 per year in a "housing allowance", worth €162,000 over the six-year term. Cardiff is also entitled to a "family allowance" made up of about €5,400 per year to run a house. EC officials also get up to €6,564 per year for school-age children to cover education and other bills. The Irish civil servant is also in line for a €30,000 "installation allowance" on taking up the job.

Europe will also cover travel expenses for Cardiff and his family as well as removal bills for his furniture and personal items. Insurance will also be provided.

When his six-year term ends -- assuming he is ratified -- Cardiff will still makemega bucks. The gravy starts pouring with an upfront €15,000 payment in a "resettlement allowance" as soon as his term finishes.

Departing members of the European Court of Auditors may claim special "transitional payments" on leaving the hallowed offices. If Cardiff serves between five to 10 years on the quango, he'll be entitled to a payment of 50 per cent of his salary for three years after his departure. That could be worth €270,000 over the period, subject to his not getting another Euro job.

Cardiff may also get a bumper pension from Europe, worth up to 70 per cent of his final salary at the Court of Auditors. This could give him a pension of up to €126,000 per year based on current pay rates. The civil servant may also decide to take his pension early and could pick up a stipend of 70 per cent of the final payment at just 60 years of age.

Sunday Indo Business

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