Milkman earned €23,000 in overtime while working for State agency

Teagasc says its worker was on a ‘very low salary’ and he was on call at weekends

Teagasc milkman made more than €23,000 in overtime, the public accounts committee was told.

Teagasc milkman made more than €23,000 in overtime, the public accounts committee was told.

 

A milkman who works on one of Teagasc’s farms earned more than €23,000 in overtime last year, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was told.

The man is a full-time employee of Teagasc. Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle said the individual involved was on a “very low salary” and the overtime was for being on call during the weekend.

Fine Gael TD Peter Burke said he thought milking would be easy to manage because of the basic core salary. “You know when cows have to be milked. That doesn’t change. It’s not irregular”.

The milkman received €23,002 in overtime payments in 2017. Professor Boyle said the same individual may have been the one who received a similar amount €22,967) in 2016.

In 2017, 159 Teagasc staff received overtime payments. Professor Boyle stated that to his knowledge the overtime payments to the milkman was the “outstanding” payment in terms of the amount involved which is why it was contained in the annual report.

In the report, Teagasc acknowledged that 19 contracts it had issued in 2017 were not in compliance with procurement rules and guidelines for contacts over the value of €25,000.

The annual costs of the non-compliant contracts were €1.35 million. Professor Boyle told the committee the issue arose because quotes were being sought from a number of local suppliers rather than through eTenders.

Professor Boyle said Teagasc was now satisfied that this did not adversely impact value for money given the number of quotes sought and the type of services procured.

He said Teagasc took out 390 contracts in 2017 at a value of €42 million and the annual value of the non-compliant contracts (at €1.35 million) was just 3 per cent of the overall total.

He added: “ Tendering exercises have since been completed for the majority of those contracts and they are now compliant. Teagasc is currently upgrading its procurement systems with a view to minimising the risk of non-compliance in future.

“Significant improvement in procurement procedures have been implemented in recent years through the recruitment of specialist staff and the development of robust systems. Procurement is complex in Teagasc due to our diversified activities and the geographical dispersal of sites.”