The President of IT Sligo has appeared before the Public Accounts Committee today regarding staff remuneration procedures.
The committee is examining the remuneration of senior staff at the University of Limerick and the Institute of Technology Sligo.
It’s understood the Government is considering recouping monies from institutes of higher education where governance breaches have been found.A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General last year raised concerns in relation to the manner in which both institutions remunerated certain senior staff members.
In his opening statement to the committee, the President of IT Sligo, Dr Brendan McCormack, spoke about some of the issues raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report.
IT Sligo says management has reviewed it’s procedures relating to all matters of redundancy and severance payments to staff.
A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General last year raised concerns in relation to the manner in which the institution remunerated a single former member of staff at IT Sligo in 2016.
In a statement to Ocean Fm news a spokesperson for the IT says “this is an isolated and regrettable incident.
The Institute says it accepts the findings of the report and will ensure that guidance and recommendations issued by the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Education and Skills from the special report are followed.
The statement goes on to say that the Executive is putting in place arrangements for the offer of severance terms in the Civil and Public service as circulated by the Department of Education & Skills recently.
They say “a severance payment was made to an employee whose five year fixed term contract was set to expire in August 2015 and who was offered a specific purpose contract due to the intention of the Institute to reform the current management structure and, as part of this restructuring, to merge the employee’s role into a new role.”
In January 2016, the then President engaged legal advisors in mediation to resolve matters with the employee, chaired by an accredited mediator. Under legal advice, the Institute signed an agreement in relation to the termination of employment under which the staff member received additional salary for 12 months.
Approval for this revised offer was not sought from the Department, which should have been done, and the Institute accepts this fact in the Special report. Furthermore, the extended contract period was described as ‘sabbatical leave’, and the Institute also acknowledges that this was not appropriate as the normal conditions for granting sabbatical leave were not followed.”