Stipends linked to CEO salaries, says IMO

Presidents unaware that they received set rate of 25% of chief executives’ pay

Irish Medical Organisation former chief executive George McNeice was paid €493,000 at the time of his departure last year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Irish Medical Organisation former chief executive George McNeice was paid €493,000 at the time of his departure last year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sat, Apr 6, 2013, 05:00

The Irish Medical Organisation has confirmed that stipends paid to presidents of the organisation over recent years have been linked to the pay of the chief executive.

However it has insisted that the past presidents were unaware that this was the manner in which their payment for their year in office was calculated.

The stipend paid to presidents of the organisation was set at about 25 per cent of the salary of the chief executive.

The former chief executive George McNeice was paid €493,000 at the time of his departure last year.

The organisa\tion said presidents who held positions in the public health service also received their State salary for their period in office.

Ahering to rules
The organisation’s rules suggest that both the organisation’s members and its governing council should have a role in determining the level of the stipend. However, a spokesman for the organisation could not confirm last night whether the rulebook had been adhered to on this issue.

Its constitution states: “An allowance may be paid to the president, in an amount authorised by council where notice of such a motion has been given, in which the amount to be paid is specified.

“The maximum amount of this allowance shall not exceed the maximum amount last authorised by the members at an annual general meeting.”

In a statement the organisation said that its incoming president, Dr Matt Sadlier, would not accept any stipend pending the completion of a review of governance in the organisation.

Past presidents
The organisation also said it was incorrect that it was known by past presidents that their stipend was fixed by reference to the chief executive’s salary.

The issue of payments to senior figures in the organisation has dominated the union’s annual conference in Killarney this week in the wake of revelations that Mr McNeice had received a package worth €9.7 million on his retirement last December.

Mr McNeice’s contract had left the IMO with a potential liability of up to €25 million but this was reduced following negotiations.

Denies assertion
A spokesman for Mr McNeice has said he believed others in the organisation knew about his remuneration. The leadership has strongly denied this assertion.

Minister for Health James Reilly was president of the organisation in 2005.

The organisation said it believed the arrangement for the linkage of the stipend for the president to the chief executive’s salary came into effect when Mr McNeice’s contract was agreed in 2003.