Holness wary of big salary for education consultant
A $5-million salary being paid to Dr Franklin Johnston, for support services to Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, has drawn the ire of Opposition Leader Andrew Holness who questioned whether the remuneration was within the approved pay scale for consultants.
However the salary being paid by Johnston is less than that which was being paid to a chief technical adviser to Audley Shaw when he was minister of finance.
According to documents tabled in Parliament in December 2009, concerning the salaries being paid to consultants, Dr Wayne Henry, a chief technical adviser was being paid $5.79 million yearly for "providing technical support, particularly in relation to multilateral and external agencies".
After Thwaites presented information to the House of Representatives yesterday in response to questions posed by South Trelawny MP Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert about consultants and advisers in his ministry, Holness questioned whether the salary being paid to Johnston is "over and above what would be the salary scale set out by the ministry of finance for such positions".
WAS THERE SPECIAL PERMISSION?
He also wanted to know whether Thwaites sought special permission for such a salary to be paid and if any other advisers in other ministries were being paid at a similar level.
"I don't want to diminish the role of the adviser and I want to understand whether or not an exception was made to pay such a salary. The minister has said that he can't answer ... . I will then have to pose the question to the minister of finance at the appropriate time," Holness said.
Thwaites, under questioning from Holness, noted that the salary would have to be approved by the ministry of finance. He said he could not answer whether the salary is above that which can be paid for the job of a consultant.
The minister also told the House that Johnston was a noted management consultant with a doctoral degree and with 25 years of experience.
"This emolument in commercial comparison is a fragment of what he would have been able to command and it was put before the appropriate body in the ministry of finance and this was the determination," Thwaites said.
Six persons have been engaged as part of Thwaites support staff in the ministry of education at a cost of $16.2 million. Information supplied by Thwaites indicates that Radley Reid, another senior adviser, is being paid $2.8 million in addition to a motor vehicle allowance of $904,428.
Verica Bennett, yet another senior adviser, is paid $3.6 million and $904,428 for motor vehicle allowance.
The three other assistants - Donna Rose, a special assistant, is paid just under $750,000 plus $156,564 for motor vehicle allowance.
Executive Secretary Vinnette Pitter is paid just over $1.3 million as salary, $208,380 for motor vehicle allowance and $97,767 in other allowances.
Julian Ivey, a secretary is being paid just under $500,000.