Maybe it’s the doing-away with the annual bonuses (or most of them!), maybe it’s the 15% forced waivers of salaries over €200,000, maybe it’s the stream of criticism for lackluster performance or maybe it’s because Ireland is in a bailout programme and doesn’t need to be issuing large amounts of debt, but for whatever reason, 9 staff or 2% of the 500 total staff at the National Treasury Management Agency, have quit or left the NTMA so far in January 2013. In 2012, just 5% of the NTMA staff quit in the entire year and back in 2009 the quitters came to a mere 1%.
The figures were revealed in the Dail yesterday by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in response to a parliamentary question from the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.
Remember that NTMA staff are not covered by the same cooling-off period that applies to civil servants. So an NTMAer can quit the NTMA one day and go work for a supplier or customer of the NTMA the next day. No questions asked. And conflicts of interest are avoided because of the honour system whereby staff at the NTMA are covered by a range of legislation that compels them to cross their hearts and hope to die that they will forget all the confidential information they’ve gleaned during their NTMA tenure, and they must pinky swear not to use, or even remember that information in their new employment.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance if members of staff at the National Treasury Management Agency are exempt from the standard practice of a cooling off period for senior civil servants moving from public sector into private sector employment; if this is true, the reason such an exemption applies; the number of staff that have transferred from the NTMA to the private sector in the past four years, by year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: The Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour contains provisions regarding acceptance of outside appointments and of consultancy engagement following resignation or retirement. This code does not apply to directors or employees in State bodies in the wider public service.
I am informed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) that the number of employees who have resigned from the NTMA since 2009 is as set out in the table below
*Includes staff who have submitted their resignation and are serving their notice period.
I am also informed by the NTMA that its employees have notice periods of one or three months and six months in the case of the Chief Executive. All NTMA employees are subject to section 14 of the National Treasury Management Agency Act, 1990 which prohibits an employee from disclosing any information obtained while carrying out their duties as employees of the NTMA. NTMA employees are also subject to the Official Secrets Act. I am informed by the NTMA that contravention of the NTMA Act and the Official Secrets Act is a criminal offence and that the prohibition on disclosing confidential information applies indefinitely and extends to former employees.