Amendment 1 Page 3 No. 4 Minutes
“Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy asked about the assurance on page 3 of the minutes that information re the to code of conduct and contract signed by previous CE would be reported at this meeting. She stated she could not find it on the agenda. The Chair apologised stating that he didn’t get to it with the change over of the new CE. Cllr McLoughlin Healy asked to have it noted that this is the third time that we are asking for the Code of Conduct and the contract signed by the previous CE. The Chair agreed that a note would be taken of it”
Amendment 2 – No.5 Agenda
“ The Chair read out the following note to the Board – there is an active Garda investigation being pursued and we are co-operating fully. Because of nature and extent of the investigation the advice to the Board and the executive is that persons pursuing matters connected to that investigation could be seen to be interfering with that investigation and are precluded from public comment. Any board member with relevant information have a duty to bring that information to the Garda detectives over the case. The Chair stated he wanted to put it on record that we have to be really careful around matters being investigated by the Gardai”
Amendment 3 – no 5 Agenda
“The Chief Executive stated she was delighted and privileged to be appointed to the role of CE of KWETB. The CE assured the Board she was committed to the delivery of the highest quality education and training service to Kildare and Wicklow in a way that was fully accountable. The CE stated she intended to bring her expertise and integrity to the job. She stated she wanted to acknowledge the commitment of the staff. She stated she had reviewed the Senior Management Team, current procurement procedures and management accounts she was confidence that KWETB works to highest standards. The CE said she would rely on the Board to get work through this very challenging time.
Cllr Jennifer Whitmore welcomed the CE and stated that the situation had been very unsettling for everyone. She asked if the Board could be furnished with the most recent responses of the executive to the C&AG. Rory O Toole stated that the correspondence going to and fro would not be fit for public consumption. The Chair clarified that the C&AG queries had been answered.
Cllr Reada Cronin welcomed the CE and read out the statement of the sub-committee looking into the Philip Lee Bill”
Ends at statement of the sub-committee
Amendment 4 – after sub-committee report
Cllr Reada Cronin referred to the RTE Investigates Programme and the CE’s reference to it. She stated that what was striking about the sub-committees review was the absolute refusal by the former Chair, the Vice and the Chair of the Audit Committee to listen to the advice they were given to inform the Board which meant that for two and half months the Board did not know about the C&AG queries. Cllr Cronin stated that the Chair and the vice Chair were in breach of section 4.2 of the Code, in that they did not behave in the best interests of the ETB and that persons could be excluded by the Chair person. She stated that the two members should consider their position. Cllr Cronin stated that we needed a further investigation into how this was allowed to go on for so long and why Board members turned a blind eye.
The Chair interjected stating that he was very concerned about the direction the conversation was going. He stated fair procedures demand people are entitled to their good name, without question and to ascribe ulterior motions we had to be very careful about what we say. We may disagree with their actions but that that was a personal opinion. The Chair stated that the legal fees and the investigation were two completely separate matters, two distinct issues and asked the Board not to conflate the two or allow it to distract from the major investigation which was causing us all turmoil. The Chair stated that that was what happened, why it happened and we are committed to getting answers to that.
Cllr Cronin clarified she had stated that the Chairs had breached 4.2 of the Code.
Ends before Cllr Daragh Fitzpatrick’s statement (which is in the minutes )
“The Chair agreed to contact the Minister to request release of the report.
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy welcomed the Chair and stated that she hoped the CE understood the hopes that go with the CE appointment. She stated that she had been talking to people for months and staff on the ground who had been impacted by manifestations of poor governance some of whom had suffered mental health issues, whose careers had suffered. Cllr McLoughlin Healy stated she had been over-whemed by the amount of issues reported to her and that she wanted to meet the CE to hand her over all of the information that had been brought to her attention. Cllr McLoughlin Healy stated that her experience at Board level was that it was difficult to ask questions and that the Chair had witnessed Board members being shouted at for asking question. She stated that Chair of the Audit Committee had twice denied that he ever received the legal advice. That she had communicated that in writing to the former Chair Cllr Ruttle. Cllr McLoughlin Healy stated that the Chair of the Audit Committee’s position was now untenable
The Chair stated that the Chair of the Audit Committee was not in attendance. The Chair stated that it was Cllr McLoughlin Healy’s opinion that the Chair’s position was untenable. Cllr McLoughlin Healy asked the Board members if it was acceptable that the legal advice was with-held from the Board. She stated it was not. Cllr McLoughlin Healy asked that the issue of appointments be addressed. The Chair stated that he was not allowing discussion of that. Cllr Mcloughlin Healy asked on what grounds. The Chair stated that he was not talking about it at this time that he didn’t think it was appropriate. He stated that the discussion might bring the organisation into disrepute. The Cllr asked that family appointments be reviewed as an urgency
Cllr Teresa Murray welcomed the CE. She stated that she had huge concerns about what had gone on in the past. She stated the Board were hampered in everything the Board wanted to do since the investigation was made known to them. She stated that she questions the Boards functionality other than being a member of school boards a role she relished. Cllr Murray hoped with new leadership there would be some learning out of everything that happened and asked for training for the Board around our role and function. She stated she was concerned about other years accounts.
Cllr Jennifer Whitmore welcomed the CE. She stated that the Prime Time Investigates programme was not done lightly and that she wanted the CE to have an insight into how difficult the last 9 months had been for the Board. She stated her frustration at swimming against the tide in trying to get anything done. She stated there had been refusals to provide Board members with info, there was a direction from the executive that we were not to discuss anything with each other whether by way of phone calls, email. The Cllr stated that there was a sense that we were being prevented from performing our statutory duty. The Cllr stated she thought that the former CE should have been suspended. That was undermined by Richard Thorn. She stated she had tried to get the Board dissolved because it had been so difficult. That it needed to be a wake up call for the Dept and for us as an organisation.
Cllr Naoise O Cearuil welcomed the CE. He stated it was deeply unhelpful for members of the Board or public to be divulging information until the investigation is complete. Cllr O Cearuil stated that it was unhelpful to be disrespecting the Chair and any other members of the Board who had given of their time in trying to sort these issues here. He stated we were all frustrated but didn’t think that accusing people was the way forward. Cllr O Cearuil stated that we all need to work together not against people and that he fully believed in the integrity of every person on the Board and hoped that that would not be called into question
Cllr Nicola Lawless welcomed the CE. She asked the former Chairs/Chair of the Audit Committee had not gotten a section 68 terms of engagement letter when engaging Philip Lee legal advisors. Cllr Lawless asked about documents the Chair of the Audit Committee asked Philip Lee to return and his role in telling them they were no longer engaged. Cllr Lawless asked were the DES aware that the former Chairs and Chair of Audit Committee hadn’t informed the Board?
The Chair stated that he would get answers to why there was no engagement letter.
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy asked on what grounds and authority did the Chair of the Audit Committee tell Philip Lee there were no longer engaged. She stated that this was outside his powers and that no-where in the Code did it give the Chair of the Audit Committee either engage or disengage the legal advisors. She stated that it was now urgent to address the disparity between what was being reported in the Audit Committee and what was reported in the sub-committee report.
Cllr McLoughlin Healy asked why the breach of the Code section 4.5 relating to engaging professional advice was not included in the sub-committee report.
Cllr John McDonagh stated they sought to address that with Reada’s statement earlier in the meeting.
John Hurley stated that the review was not an investigation. He stated that they had put a huge amount of work into the review.
Cllr Mcloughlin Healy stated that she wanted to clarify that she had stepped down from the sub- committee because there had been an official complaint about her from someone from whom the sub-committee would have been seeking information and therefore she had no option but to step down before the committee got underway.
Cllr Reada Cronin stated that they sub-committee had had some legal advice. She stated that the Chair and Vice-Chair had not adhered to section 4.5. She restated that they should consider their positions.
Cllr McLoughlin Healy asked that the report be corrected to reflect that the breach of the code
Cllr John McDonagh stated that they would email the sub-committee report to all members
End of Amendment 5 before point 6 Cllr Tommy Annesley advised the RTE investigates…..