No interest in Longford-Westmeath vacancy

Cllr Mae Sexton.
Not a single expression of interest has been shown in the Department of Education’s attempts to secure a permanent chief executive for Longford-Westmeath VEC, a meeting of the VEC was told.

Not a single expression of interest has been shown in the Department of Education’s attempts to secure a permanent chief executive for Longford-Westmeath VEC, a meeting of the VEC was told.

It follows revelations carried by this newspaper last month which confirmed that the original suggested candidate for the job Co Cavan CEO, Colm McEvoy, is to transfer to County Kerry.

That leaves acting Co Longford CEO Rosemary Johnston still at the helm, a position she has retained since June 2010.

At last week’s meeting of the VEC in Longford town, Ms Johnston said she hoped to learn more on the issue after Easter.

“From the existing CEOs, there was no expression of interest for Longford-Westmeath and the Department (of Education) are now looking at how to fill position,” she said.

The former Ardscoil Phadraig principal said approaches had been made to those currently in CEO roles to identify individual preferences and prospective openings based on seniority.

“They (Department) have engaged again (with CEOs) and there has been no expression of interest,” she told last Wednesday’s monthly meeting.

Reacting to the news, Cllr Mae Sexton called on the VEC to send a letter to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to determine if certain incentives were offered for candidates to take up positions elsewhere.

“What I want is answers as to how these well-paid people can chop and change and decide where they want to go,” she said, as she reiterated her calls for contact to be made with the state spending watchdog.

“I don’t accept that these highly paid individuals can find a slot somewhere else and we (Longford-Westmeath) are the losers in all of this.”

Ms Johnston, meanwhile, said she expected to learn more on the search for a permanent CEO over the next few weeks, a statement which drew a sarcastic response from Cllr Paul Connell.

“Ah sure, tell them (Department) that there is no hurry,” he grinned. .

One of those who did not appear to see the funny side was Cllr Peggy Nolan. “I have major concerns as to why nobody has shown any interest in the position,” she sternly put it.

“I know how important the work that this VEC is doing and I would urge the Department to take the lead in this and appoint someone as soon as possible.”