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Top civil servant to retire on €540,000 after pension boost

THE Department of Health's top civil servant is retiring on a package of €540,000 after securing a boost to his pension.

But secretary general Michael Scanlan is not availing of the early retirement scheme for the public service, which ends this month.

He is the latest in a raft of top civil servants to retire in recent months, including fellow secretary general Dermot McCarthy, who sparked controversy with his gold-plated €730,000 retirement package.

Mr Scanlan is 55 years old and his seven-year contract runs out in April. He will see out his contract instead of getting a higher pension by leaving before the February deadline for retirements.

After completing his contract he will have served 38 and a half years as a civil servant. But his service will be topped up by a one and a half years to bring him up to 40 years. This is considered full service, a factor that will boost his annual pension.

Mr Scanlan will be eligible for a pension of €107,795, a lump sum of €323,385 and a severance payment of €107,795.

These are the retirement conditions set out for secretaries general under terms established by the Top Level Appointments Committee.

These have been revised under reforms laid down by Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin -- but the revisions will only apply to new appointments.

However, because Mr Scanlan is retiring after February 29, his pension, lump sum and severance will be based on the post-pay cut salary.

Mr Scanlan is also chairman of the Health Service Executive, since the old board of the agency was abolished last year.

He has offered Health Minister James Reilly his help on a pro-bono basis with any work on health service reform.

The Government plans to replace Mr Scanlan by an open competition.

Mr Scanlan joined the civil service as an executive officer in 1973 and has spent most of his career in the Department of Finance. He has been secretary general of the Department of Health since April 2005.

Living in Dublin all his life, he is married and, ironically, for a Department of Health senior official, is a smoker. He was educated in Templeogue College and Trinity College Dublin.

Before taking over in the Department of Health, he spent most of his career in the former Department of the Public Service and in the Department of Finance.

He was secretary to the 'Gleeson' and 'Buckley' review bodies on public sector remuneration. Later, he dealt with overall public service pay policy, including pay policy within the health sector.

He was promoted to assistant secretary of the Department of Finance in December 2000, where he was responsible for overall public expenditure policy and the Government's decentralisation programme.

He also covered public expenditure policy within the health sector and worked closely with the department on the structural reform programme in the sector, including the establishment of the Health Service Executive.

Mr Scanlan became secretary general of the Department of Health in the wake of the nursing home fees debacle.

Irish Independent