State to review pay of disability service executives

 

THE GOVERNMENT is to review the size of salaries paid to senior executives in State-funded organisations that provide services to people with disabilities.

Among the organisations likely to come under scrutiny will be the Rehab Group, whose chief executive, Angela Kerins, reportedly received a salary, bonus payment and expenses worth more than €400,000 in 2009.

The Rehab Group has refused to confirm the salary except to say it is not financed from any State funding or fundraising income.

When contacted by this newspaper, Ms Kerins would not discuss her salary and directed media queries to Michael Parker of public relations firm Insight Consultants. In a statement issued on behalf of Rehab, it said the salary of Ms Kerins was a private matter and had been set by the board.

“Rehab Group would like to point out that the salaries of the CEO and other senior members of the group management team are not financed from any State funding or fundraising income,” the statement said.

“All group management salaries are set by the board of the Rehab Group and are independently benchmarked.”

Latest figures show Rehab received just over €50 million in State funding in 2009, out of an overall income of €200 million.

A value-for-money audit commissioned by former minister of state John Moloney has asked service providers to pass on details of the salaries of senior executives.

Newly appointed Minister with responsibility for disability Kathleen Lynch said she will study the findings when the information is fully gathered shortly, but declined to comment on individual organisations.

Most voluntary organisations or service providers are funded exclusively by the taxpayer or raise money themselves.

This newspaper established last year that pay at many of these voluntary bodies has been rising even at a time when they were receiving less State funding.

St Michael’s House in Dublin received about €75 million in State funding up to October 31st, 2009, compared to €90 million in 2008. During the same period, the chief executive’s total salary package increased from €198,186 to €201,024.

In Cork, Enable Ireland received €33.5 million in 2009, down from €39 million the year before. The salary of the chief executive increased from €165,673 in 2008 to €169,093 in 2009.

Rehab is different to voluntary bodies in that it is involved in commercial activities. It is structured as a not-for-profit organisation and employs more than 3,500 people with a turnover of over €200 million.

The Phoenixmagazine reported last week that Ms Kerins’s salary was in excess of €300,000. When a bonus, along with pension entitlements, car benefits and expenses were factored in, the figure rose to more than €400,000.

Rehab has also defended its decision to award a contract for the supply of materials from a company whose directors included Ms Kerins’s husband, Seán Kerins, and her brother, Joseph Mac Carthy. Complete Eco Solutions imports timber panels from China which are then used by Rehab staff to assemble into coffins.

In a statement, Rehab said Joe Mac Carthy had a long track record of business in China and he had been asked for his assistance in sourcing supplies for the pilot project phase.

“Mr Mac Carthy was simply assisting Rehab in an area which is outside his normal business activities and his company has made no profit from this activity,” according to Rehab.

It said Seán Kerins stepped down as a director of Complete Eco Solutions once the company became involved with Rehab.

“As per good corporate governance Ms Kerins fully declared the matter at Rehab Group board level from the outset and stepped back from decisions relating to this business,” the statement adds.