Sometimes, in unguarded moments, our politicians reveal the truth about how our country is run. The impact is all the greater when the revelations are made in all innocence, as is the case here.
Would you be happy if you’re wages were determined in secret?
Let me tell you a little secret about this. I’m a bit of a hypocrite about all this because I get bench marking in the Senate as a senator and I’m a beneficiary of that. Let me tell you a story about it that shows how ridiculous it was.
When the last bench marking award came through I got my cheque and I saw this increase.
How much was it for?
I can’t remember, so I got this increase and I didn’t know what it was for so I rang up the Dept of Finance and I said ‘What’s this for, it was for another €200 or something I can’t remember and the guy said.
Oh, that’s your performance related pay.
And I said, but my performance has been worse in the Senate (great laughter from the panel). I have to admit to you in the last few months it’s been worse and I said, why did I get it?
He said that’s what’s been ordered for you and that’s what you get.
I said why and he didn’t know but he said you have to take performance related pay.
This is one of the ridiculous things about bench marking. They give out performance related pay, they set up these bogus, what they call performance verification groups, which rubber stamp these performance related payments for reasons for which we don’t know about and they give relativities for which we don’t understand
John Waters then cracked a joke about the senator’s work performance and everybody enjoyed a great laugh.
Senator Ross is so insulated from the reality of Irish life that when one of his incomes is substantially increased he can’t remember by how much. The figure eventually comes to mind and we find the increase is equivalent to what many thousands of old age pensioners live on every week.
He freely admits that he is not entitled to the pay increase as his performance had actually dropped in recent months but gave no indication that he is going to give the money back, or perhaps give it to an old age pensioner.
The civil servant at the Dept. of Finance was so incompetent that he was unable to tell the senator the reason for the pay increase.
The senator also freely admits that the performance verification groups, apparently set up to actually police work performance, are bogus, and merely rubber stamp pay increases. (How close is this to fraud?)
Senator Ross’ tone of voice was one of astonishment at the situation but there was no trace of anger or any indication that he was going to act on the matter.
And the most depressing aspect of this little story? Senator Ross is one of our best, most diligent, most pro active, most socially aware of our politicians.