Cork Simon chief discloses his salary of €89,800 but has no perks

 Dermot Kavanagh: Detailed Cork Simon's finances.

The head of Cork Simon has disclosed his annual salary of €89,800 in an effort to promote full openness and transparency.

The charity’s chief executive, Dermot Kavanagh, has also given a detailed breakdown of how the homeless charity spends €7m delivering its services every year.

He said given the ongoing controversy about charity finances and pay-scales said all charities should respond quickly to queries.

“We have to be open and transparent about all of these things,” he said. “We get a lot of support from the people of Cork. All charities are dependent on the goodwill and trust of the people, and without that we wouldn’t be able to do our work.”

Mr Kavanagh revealed his salary in a statement on the charity’s website, and said he does not have a company car, a car allowance, a bonus, or any other perk or entitlement.

“No one at Cork Simon does,” he said. “I am reimbursed for any necessary work-related travel upon submission of appropriate receipts.

His statement shows that 84c of every euro the charity spends goes towards running and maintaining its housing and shelters, and providing its wide range of support services.

Sixteen cent of every euro goes towards generating the €2.4m it needs to collect from donors every year.

The statement shows that a third of the charity’s expenditure is covered by the HSE through an annual written agreement towards pay costs for 48 skilled care posts at its emergency shelter and high-support housing services.

Around 12% of its annual costs are covered by Cork City Council. It gets a smaller sum from other state agencies, but none of its services have ever been fully funded in its 43-year history.

Despite increasing demand for its services since 2008, and against the backdrop of a €1m cut in statutory funding, Mr Kavanagh said Cork Simon has increased the level and quality of its services, developed and opened new ones, while achieving efficiencies.

The charity has reduced staff and manager numbers; it negotiated a pay freeze in 2009; negotiated pay cuts of up to 7.1% in 2010; and is constantly reviewing its day-to-day costs.

He joined in 2011 on a reduced salary scale from that which applied to previous CEOs.

The charity has 22 full-time volunteers; the equivalent of 76 full-time posts staffed by highly skilled people; up to 1,000 active volunteers at every level, from serving on the board of directors to helping to fundraise; and more than 10,000 donors.

Mr Kavanagh said their efforts help people turn their lives around. “Making that big difference costs money — around €7m per year,” he explained.

“It also requires organisation, administrative support and informed planning. It requires an organisation that is open, transparent and governed to the highest standards.”

Cork Simon’s annual accounts are independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and although not yet mandatory in Ireland, they are prepared with reference to the Statement of Recommended Practice for charities.

Meanwhile, it is preparing for two big fundraisers — the Cork Simon Ball on March 28, and a bag pack in Tesco stores across Cork on April 4.


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