Retired teachers seek apology from VEC

A REPRESENTATIVE of teachers on Offaly VEC has claimed that minutes of the November meeting were inaccurate, and has renewed criticism of the manner of appointment of members of boards of management of schools and training centres.

A REPRESENTATIVE of teachers on Offaly VEC has claimed that minutes of the November meeting were inaccurate, and has renewed criticism of the manner of appointment of members of boards of management of schools and training centres.

He also said that "several" retired teachers wanted an apology for comments made at that meeting.

Mr Denis Magner said that the minutes did not reflect that functions to mark staff retirements had stopped on cost grounds, but members were still being co-opted onto boards.

He also felt there was no reference to the procedure for selection of members.

The Cathaoirleach, Cllr Eamon Dooley, said that the minutes "don't give a blow by blow account."

He felt that the minutes did record what was said, but Mr Magner felt that the comments made by Cllr Dooley had been recorded in full.

He wished to put on record that the minutes were incomplete.

Mr Magner added that "one member" and not "other members" had said that it would be better to have members on boards than to spend money on retirement functions.

Ms Vivienne Keenan queried the use of 'tutors' instead of 'teachers' in the adult education sector, but former Adult Literacy Officer Mary McLoughlin said this was the norm.

Mr Magner said that he had spoken to Mr Michael Moriarty, General Secretary, Irish Vocational Education Association, who had told him there was no provision for "rolling over" board members.

Some of the board members were former VEC members. The staff rep felt that it was up to the VEC to appoint members.

Mr Magner said that "several" retired members wanted an apology for the statement of one member that it was better to co-opt members than to spend money on retirement functions.

He added, "They didn't even get a thank-you letter."

Cllr Dooley said the legal advice was that there was no barrier to allowing those wishing to serve to do so on non-statutory boards if the committee agreed.

"There's no such thing as a non-statutory board," responded Mr Magner.

Cllr Dooley said he would move on. "If you want to bring it somewhere else, you can," he declared.

Mr Magner unsuccessfully sought a copy of the letter sent to the barrister seeking the legal advice. Later, Cllr Dooley announced that there would be an event for retired teachers at the January meeting. "It won't be a huge event," he stressed.

Meanwhile, January 14 is the closing date for tenders for architects and quantity surveyors for the new Tullamore College building.

Last Tuesday week's meeting of Offaly VEC was told by the Acting CEO, Mr Edward McEvoy, that after the top three tenderers were selected, fourteen days would be left to allow unsuccessful tenderers to object.

Also Offaly VEC has backed a call from its Sligo counterpart to put on hold the merger of VECs until the new government is elected.

The meeting also reappointed Mr Denis Magner as the VEC representative on the board of St Mary's Youth and Community Centre, Tullamore.