Charity chief did not train finance manager for post

Sat, Jul 14, 2012, 01:00

IT DID not occur to the chief executive of a well known charity to train up an existing “loyal servant of 10 years,” and he was instead replaced by a higher-paid new employee, a lawyer told the Employment Appeals Tribunal yesterday.

Robin Webster, chief executive of Age Action Ireland, said he dismissed finance manager Denis Logan in November 2010, as he had not been successful in an interview for a new position at the charity of head of finance.

The new employee was to be paid €71,000 per annum, compared with Mr Logan’s salary of €56,000 per annum.

Mr Logan, who had worked at the charity since 2000, is claiming he was unfairly dismissed from his post from Age Action Ireland, Ltd.

Mr Webster said issues arose in early 2010 “in relation to the finances of the organisation”.

He said there were deficits in 2009 and 2010, and that in 2010, of €672,000, was “the worst ever”.

“We wanted to strengthen the finances of the organisation and there was a root and branch examination.”

An independent review was carried out and a “number of failings with the finance section identified”. There was confusion with how the accounts were being kept and reported and a recognition of the need to assert greater control over the accounts.

“We wanted someone at the highest level of staffing in the organisation to take on leadership of finance . . . and also to improve the commercial side and fundraising.

“We needed the salary to be higher to attract someone to do this work,” he said.

He said he advised Mr Logan of these developments and wrote to him formally inviting him to apply for the new position.

“He had been a loyal servant for many years and this was a new role,” said Mr Webster. “It wasn’t about Denis. It was about a new role.” He said he “coached” him on how to approach the interview, but on the day Mr Logan did “not do himself justice” and did a poor interview.

Another candidate was chosen and Mr Logan was given six weeks’ notice of his dismissal on October 8th, 2010. He received statutory redundancy and an additional ex gratia payment.

Laurence Masterson, for Mr Logan, said the tribunal would hear that Mr Logan had been performing most of the functions that were required of the new employee.

He put it to Mr Webster that he had not wanted Mr Logan in the new role, to which Mr Webster said, “No”.

He asked him: “Did it occur to you to train Mr Logan up into the more senior managerial position of head of finance?”

He replied: “No.”

The hearing continues in November.