Refusing to disclose remuneration of Kerins became impossible to sustain

Although Rehab says Kerins’s pay is ‘competitive’, she is very well paid

Angela Kerins, chief executive of Rehab. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Angela Kerins, chief executive of Rehab. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 22:05

Rehab has finally yielded to acute political pressure to divulge the remuneration of chief executive Angela Kerins, the value of which amounts to some €272,400 a year. This includes basic pay of €240,000, her company car is worth another €18,000 and Rehab pays a further €14,400 into her pension.

Citing research from pay consultants Hay Group and Towers Watson, the Rehab board said Kerins’s pay was significantly below the market midpoint or “median” when compared with organisations of similar scale engaged in similar activities. However, Rehab will not be publishing the consultants’ reports.

Although Rehab chairman Brian Kerr said the board was satisfied Kerins’s remuneration was “competitive and fair”, she is very well paid nonetheless. For example, she receives a good deal more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his Ministers.

Mr Kenny’s salary was cut last year to €185,350 from €200,000 under the Haddington Road pact. The pay of Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore dropped €13,096 to €171,308, and Ministers such as Michael Noonan, Alan Shatter and Pat Rabbitte saw their pay cut by €11,734 to €157,540.

At a time of grave fiscal retrenchment and public sector pay cuts on salaries above €65,000, Kerins’s pay has actually increased marginally in recent years. Her salary in 2011 was €234,000. This was in response to reports that her remuneration in 2009 was worth some €400,000. It is as well to record that pay cuts of between 5 and 15 per cent were implemented for staff in the Rehab group in February 2010, a move in lines with Government pay cuts for public service staff.

Rehab’s board said Kerins had voluntarily waived all bonus entitlements for the last four years. The size of the bonus payments she might have received was never calculated as a result of her voluntary waiver, Rehab’s spokesman said. She had no right to a bonus this year or in future under current arrangements, he added.

It was amid public disquiet over the Central Remedial Clinic affair and Kerins’s refusal to disclose her current pay in a radio interview last month that prompted searching questions of Rehab. Further pressure was heaped on Rehab when Shatter questioned very low profit margins on Rehab’s charity lotteries in the Dáil. Rehab responded bitterly that the Minister had improperly strayed into matters before the courts but the questions stuck.

The organisation is due before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) within two or three weeks. In PAC circles last night, the response to Rehab’s statement was to question why the organisation took so long to provide the information. The special board meeting yesterday was called almost one month ago.

Kerins and Rehab had defended their prior refusal to disclose her pay by saying that 60 per cent of Rehab’s income came from the commercial arena. Still, information given to the PAC shows that the organisation got €82.2 million in State payments last year. Refusing to disclose Kerins’s pay was impossible to sustain in that scenario. Now the group is facing demands for yet more information from the PAC. Rehab said yesterday that it would disclose the total remuneration of senior management in its accounts from 2015 onwards, but such accounts would not be published until 2016.

While Rehab has explained that by saying it has no legal obligation to do so before the 2015 accounts, that stance mirrors the position it took up to yesterday in relation to Kerins. PAC members were adamant last night that they were not minded to wait around for that information.

All of this is in addition to unanswered questions about its charity lotteries, which had very low profits. While Rehab has challenged the closure of a Government scheme from which it drew millions of euros in the courts, Shatter has argued that the scheme incentivised charities to maximise sales with no regard to the eventual return for charitable purposes. Rehab has provided some answers but questions remain.

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