Former manager defends system

Carolyn Farrar

Reporter:

Carolyn Farrar

Former Donegal county manager, Michael McLoone, said he has completed a report that sets out conditions needed for the controversial system to reorganise work systems in the county council to be used for the wider public service.

Former Donegal county manager, Michael McLoone, said he has completed a report that sets out conditions needed for the controversial system to reorganise work systems in the county council to be used for the wider public service.

Mr. McLoone this week took the unusual step of speaking on the Shaun Doherty Show on Highland Radio to defend the spending of almost three million euro on researchers for work that was not put out to tender.

Mr. McLoone’s interview followed a story in the Irish Independent earlier this week on councillors’ 2010 decision to spend a further 90,000 euro to test the system.

“It actually was dealt with in a public meeting on my recommendation, so I am taking full responsibility,” Mr. McLoone told the Democrat. He said he took that step, “so that any criticism that might have been made of the council or of the management of the council should be redirected to me.”

Mr. McLoone said he completed his report in December of 2011 on a voluntary basis, as part of a commitment he made to the council before his retirement in 2010 to make himself available following the testing process. His report is not part of the test of the system. The 90,000 euro that councillors approved at their public June 2010 meeting was used to test the system on six council services. A spokesperson for the council this week said the test phase is complete and the council will now conduct a formal evaluation to examine the suitability, applicability and cost-benefit potential of the system and its use. The council is considering arrangements to invite tenders to carry out the evaluation.

Councillors who approved the testing said they only became aware of the spending through a 2009 internal audit that suggested proper tendering and procurement practices had not been used, and was critical of the expenses researchers Stephen Cang and David Stroll were allowed.

Mr. McLoone has defended the value of the work. He said payment and expenses “ran toward four million euro” from 1994 to 2006, covering the work that Mr. Cang contributed to the council’s decentralisation project, and the work system created by Mr. Cang and David Stroll, as One Sigma.