Belfast Telegraph

It's time to come up with answers, NIW chairman told

By Adrian Rutherford

The chairman of NI Water has been urged to publicly explain how a dispute over pensions has spiralled into a full-blown crisis.

Sean Hogan was not been seen or heard since the problems arose in late December. Instead it has been left to chief executive Sara Venning to front up.

Mr Hogan, who earns up to £50,000 a year, was appointed in March 2011 and is due to stand down later this year.

John Dallat, who sits on the Assembly's regional development committee, said it was time he came up with some answers.

"These are the people who are paid and carry the ultimate responsibility for the outcomes of NI Water," he said.

And Mr Dallat said he had "serious problems" with public appointments to organisations such as NI Water.

"NI Water has a horrendous history of how it has managed its affairs," he added.

"And while I accept that in recent times there is evidence of improvements, I do believe there is still a lot of work to be done.

"The present crisis is a manifestation of this."

Mr Dallat said that NI Water's leadership must be reformed.

"The first thing we need to do is resolve this dispute, and then we need a serious examination of the abilities of those appointed to NI Water to run it," he added.

Mr Hogan leads a team of six non-executive directors at the state-owned company.

The others are Donald Price, Kevin Steele, Deep Sagar, John Rae and Jim Stewart, who each receive between £15,000 and £20,000 a year.

With the future in mind, Mr Hogan has advertised his services online.

On one site, which promotes network opportunities for non-executive directors, he describes himself as "outcomes driven with proven emotional intelligence".

His profile states: "I have led public sector organisations through mergers and organisational change, rebuilt organisational morale and reputation, and delivered results in the best interest of both the company and the stakeholders.

"Always on the look out for my next assignment/challenge, I would be delighted to speak to recruiters interested in these skills."

Mr Hogan's profile states that "competitive remuneration" is required, suggesting £300 to £500 a day for non-executive roles.

On his time at NI Water, it states: "Rebuilt the relationships with key stakeholders, settled down a turbulent organisation, increased consumer confidence in the company."

Belfast Telegraph


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