Monday 20 November 2017

Three presidents paid at same time

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

THE University of Limerick paid three people presidential salaries of €228,050 each at the same time over a two-year period.

The outgoing president, an acting president and the new president were all paid for the job, through 2007 and 2008.

And the university did not seek approval for the unusual arrangements from the Higher Education Authority or the Education Minister, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) report.

The presidential pay chain started in April 2006 when former president Professor Roger Downer stepped down from the position due to ill health.

After leaving office, Prof Downer undertook academic and other duties on behalf of the university until August 2008 and continued to be paid at the rate for president.

Prof Downer was replaced in an acting capacity by John Connor, a former vice-president with responsibility for finance, administration, buildings and estates, who had announced his intention to retire in 2005.

Mr Connor retained the office of acting president until the appointment of the new president, Professor Don Barry, in May 2007. However, after stepping down as acting president, he was kept on, at the same salary, to oversee a number of key strategic initiatives, and he retired in April 2009.

The presidential pay rate also fed into Mr Connor's pension, which was based on salary from May 2006 to April 2009.

The university told the C&AG that it had not received sanction to pay three employees contemporaneously during 2007 and 2008 at the level of president.

The report states that it is not clear what provision was included in Prof Downer's contract in relation to sick pay, but said that pay entitlement was normally six months at full pay and six months at half pay.

Irish Independent

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