€40k payment to director broke conditions for job
on 01/10/2013 00:00:00
The job was offered to Sean Rainbird, director of the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart and a former senior curator at the Tate Gallery in London. The offer included the sanctioned rate of pay, starting at a €99,236 salary, and reasonable vouched expenses, paid if incurred in moving to Ireland.
The new director received a further payment of €40,000 last year, net of tax and PRSI, for removal expenses. It was made from non-Exchequer sources available to the gallery, not from its publicly voted budget.
The C&AG report said supporting vouchers to the value of €3,700 of the €40,000 paid have been received to date. After tax advice, the gallery grossed the unvouched element of the expense payment to €87,454 for tax purpose with this grossed-up cost also being paid out of non-Exchequer resources.
The board was recommended by the gallery's audit and risk committee to approve use of gallery funds to meet non-salary costs as required.
But C&AG Seamus McCarthy said in his report that the payments approved by the board did not comply with the sanction issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
Board chairperson Dr Olive Braiden told the C&AG the view was taken that the payment of reasonable relocation expenses could be properly defined in this case as that level of expenses that would make a candidate from overseas no worse off in taking the job than someone already living in Ireland.
She said the nature of the property market and the dysfunctional nature of the banking system here made family relocation unattractive for a senior mid-career professional, which was compounded by the fact the contract was for five years only.
Annual audits by the gallery are intended to ensure the expenses associated with travel from abroad are fully vouched, the C&AG was told.
The report also shows the gallery spent around €420,000 in legal fees, salary arrears and compensation in the case of six security attendants it decided last December should be reinstated, having made them redundant in 2011. The Labour Court had ordered that three of them had contracts of indefinite duration and should be reinstated.