Fine Gael TD for Wicklow/East Carlow and member of the Public Accounts Committee, Simon Harris, has said that there are still a number of outstanding questions former CRC Chair, Hamilton Goulding needs to answer. Deputy Harris was speaking following Mr Goulding’s interview on today’s RTE’s ‘This Week’ programme earlier today. Deputy Harris also called on Mr Goulding to make available to the committee all documentation and material he has in his possession in relation to board minutes, board agendas and any supporting documentation relating to the governance of the organisation, Mr Kiely’s pay-off and the transfer of hundreds of thousands of euro from a charity account to meet this payment.
“Mr Goulding’s interview on national radio this afternoon, leaves many very serious questions unanswered. We now must hear from Mr Goulding and his colleagues at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee and they need to provide the committee with any material or documentation which they have in their possession, from their time as Members of the Board of the CRC.
“The following questions have not been answered by Mr Goulding and must be answered:
1. Why was Mr Kiely never asked to take a pay-cut by the Board of the CRC? I raised this point with Mr Kiely, Mr Nugent and other members of the board when they appeared before the PAC and they told me that at no stage was Mr Kiely ever asked to take a pay-cut. Mr Goulding needs to answer why he did not take this action before paying out a massive lump sum from charity funds.
2. How did Mr Goulding, as Chairman and long-time member of the Board and member of the Remuneration Sub-Committee, not know for a significant period of time, Mr Kiely’s salary? This afternoon Mr Goulding used the phrase, ‘when I found out’ about Mr Kiely’s salary and also said that he ‘eventually’ found out the salary. From a corporate governance point of view how did Mr Goulding effectively discharge his duties as a Director and then Chairman if he wasn’t even aware of the salary level of the organisation’s CEO.
3. When Mr Goulding and fellow directors clearly knew that Paul Kiely and other CRC representatives hadn’t given the full picture to the PAC re Mr Kiely’s pay off, why did they not disclose it to the committee subsequently. In the end it had to be uncovered by the HSE interim administrator.
4. Mr Goulding made reference to the fact that he entered talks with Mr Kiely when to quote him, ‘it seemed we couldn’t force him out’. This comment is at contrast to the recording of the minutes of a special board meeting on the 25th March 2013 which states that a Mrs. Jameson, a member of the board, said she was reluctant to vote in favour of the retirement package because she did not want Paul Kiely to leave. Was the Board unified in its approach that Mr Kiely must depart the organisation? It seems from the minutes that this was not the case.
5. How did Mr Goulding manage to preside over an organisation which managed to have €12 million in reserve and yet refused to provide some of the service necessary to its clients?
6. Why do we have no information on what Mr Goulding, and his colleagues on the board did, in relation to HSE letters they received warning them that they were not in in compliance? Did they not take these letters seriously? Where these letters discussed at board meetings?
7. In relation to the transfer of money from a charity account, ‘The Friends and Supporters of the CRC’, to Paul Kiely, does Mr Goulding view this as an acceptable transfer and did he seek advice in relation to the legality of the issue?
8. Mr Goulding’s comments in relation to the confidentiality agreement are simply not credible. The minutes of the board meeting on the 25th March 2013 make clear reference to the fact that a legally-binding confidentiality agreement was to be put in place. Considering Mr Goulding was the Chairperson of the Board who made a presentation on Mr Kiely’s retirement package, how can he claim that the confidentiality agreement was merely something that was put in without being requested, when it was recorded in the board minutes? He needs to clarify this.
9. The HSE, at the Public Accounts Committee, made very clear that the package offered to Mr Kiely was in no way comparable to the HSE Early Retirement Scheme of December 2010. The Interim Administrator of the CRC has also referenced this in his letter to the committee. Mr Goulding, and his colleagues, need to outline very clearly to the committee how they arrived at the final sum given to Mr Kiely and what advice they sought in this regard.
10. Mr Goulding today seemed to again ignore the fact that not only was the board in conflict with the HSE, in relation to the extremely large salary of Paul Kiely, and not only does the board have questions to answer in relation to Mr Kiely’s massive and extraordinary pay-off, they also acted incorrectly and improperly in appointing Mr Kiely’s successor, Mr Conlon. The Board did not advertise the post publicly, in the first instance, and then put in place a pay structure which wasn’t in accordance with HSE guidelines. Mr Goulding and his colleagues need to provide more information on this.
“It is absolutely vital that these individuals now come before the Public Accounts Committee, we also need to see the Remuneration Committee meeting minutes which relate to Mr Kiely’s departure. These should be very easy for Mr Goulding to provide considering he was a member of this committee. We also need to see more minutes of board meetings that took place before and after the special meeting of 25th March 2013.
“Despite his stated commitment to corporate governance reforms, Mr Goulding continued to sit on board for a company in which the same directors sat on multiple boards including the board of the Friends and Supporters of CRC. I am also very keen to hear Mr Goulding’s thoughts regarding the use of visa cards by CRC staff.
“I hope and expect that Mr Goulding will address these matters urgently with the Public Accounts Committee and I respectfully urge that he send on all documentation, relating to these matters, to the Committee as a matter of priority.”