Fri | Aug 18, 2017

INSPORTS in limbo

Published:Thursday | January 14, 2016 | 1:00 AMLivingston Scott
Anderson

The Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) has found itself in a bind as the role of the administrative director, Ian Andrews, particularly as it relates to signing powers, has not been restored - as mandated - by the board of directors, which is led by Don Anderson.

As a result, staff and creditors of the government-run agency are being significantly impacted as health benefits and personal deductions for staff, which have been signed by Andrews, are not being co-signed by Anderson or any other board member.

Also, some creditors who have rendered services in various sports development programmes carried out by the government organisation cannot be paid, as Anderson refuses to co-sign the cheques with the administrative director.

And only last week, one creditor, Edward Cooke, filed for compensation by the agency through his lawyer, for monies ($619,000) owed by INSPORTS.

The issue is long-running, since September last year when Andrews was sent on administrative leave and his signing powers revoked by the board, following appraisal by the Auditor General's Department.

The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA), which mediates on behalf of government workers, intervened and cited discrepancies in the removal, noting that it was unconstitutional.

It said the decision to send Andrews on administrative leave was not in line with public-sector leave protocol and instructed Andrews to remain in his job as the board acted irrational and without foundation.

The JCSA also insisted that Andrews' signing powers be restored and even warned against the current dilemma facing the Institute, as a result of the administrative director's signing restrictions.

"This goes against proper governance ... and will impair the smooth running of operations," a portion of the letter from the bargaining unit shared.

Further, it said because the bank had already accepted on the board's request to relieve Andrews of signing power, it called on Anderson to make the corrective changes with the bank to restore such privileges.

Since then, the Ministry of Finance and the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister have instructed Anderson to restore the signing powers of the administrative director. However, he has refused.

The request was first made at a meeting between representatives of government ministries, the INSPORTS board and Andrews.

In a letter to Anderson dated November 9, 2015, Alison McLean, chief technical director, Ministry of Finance, called for the expedition of the removal of the administrative leave and that "any consequential arrangements that were predicated on that instruction be rescinded from the date of the correspondence as agreed in the October 6, 2015 meeting".

A second letter to Anderson, dated November 18, 2015, from Elaine Foster-Allen, permanent secretary attached to the OPM, instructed: "Following our conversation this morning (Foster-Allen-Anderson), I write to confirm that the directives issued in relation to the administrative leave of administrative director Ian Andrews, which has been withdrawn, also indicated that his authority to sign on behalf of the Institute of Sports has been restored.

"Please be kind enough to indicate that this has been done."

When The Gleaner asked Anderson about his refusal to follow the directives, he gave no clear answer.

"That is a redundant question (why Andrews' signing power is not restored). When you spoke to me last week I told you exactly what the position was ... The thing about it is that I have answered this question already, unless you are trying to stoke up something else," he said.

"Talk to me in a few days time and all will be clear, hopefully. But I have to be sensible about my response, so later on we will talk," he promised.