WHOEVER TAKES OVER from John Buckley as Ireland’s next Comptroller and Auditor General – the man in charge of preventing wasteful government spending – will have one less bill to worry about: their own.
Finance minister Michael Noonan has signed off on a pay cut of over €41,000 for whoever succeeds Buckley, who is stepping down from the role at the end of the month.
While Buckley collects an annual gross salary of €241,414, his yet-to-be-appointed successor will receive €200,000 – or €190,000 if they do not make a personal contribution to their own pension.
Like many on the public payroll, the Comptroller’s wage spiralled significantly since the economic boom: Charlie McCreevy raised the wage from £77k to £87k in 1998 (applying the increase retrospectively for a year), and boosted it to almost £95,000 the next year.
In May 2001 McCreevy awarded two retrospective pay increases, to £100,506 from September 2000 and £111,083 from March 2001 – only to then raise the wage again two months later, to £121,219 (€153,916), and again to €172,982 the following April.
Brian Cowen left the wage static for three years before raising it to €203,014 in July 2005, and boosting it to €213,507 again just six months later. The current pay, of €241,414, was introduced by Cowen in November 2007, retrospective to September of that year.
That salary is the one Buckley has received for the entirety of his time in office, having been appointed to the role in May 2008.
The new lower salary means that the wage will now stand at where it would have been had it been linked to the rate of inflation for the last ten years.
The role of the Comptroller is to ensure that public money is properly managed and spent, and to suggest improvements in public administration.
Buckley’s successor is approved by the Dáil on nomination by the government, and formally appointed by the President.