The MEPA Chairman & private practice

Vince-Cassar

The Malta Independent  focuses on the fact that the newly appointed MEPA Chairman is a part-timer and that he is allowed to carry out private work as an Architect & Civil Engineer.

The Malta  Independent is correct in pointing out that this is asking for trouble.  But, I hasten to add that this is just theoretical in the case of the newly appointed MEPA Chairman Vince Cassar.

In all fairness one should add the following relevant information on Vince Cassar. He is past retirement age having served in the public service for over 30 years primarily in the Works Department in various positions up to the post of Director General and lately as Permanent Secretary in the Transport Ministry until 2008. He was in fact the Permanent Secretary attached to Jesmond Mugliette’s Ministry.

As far as I am aware Vince Cassar has no history of private practice during the past 30 years.  He may have been a director since retirement of a limited liability company. But I am not sure of that.  Knowing Vince Cassar I have no doubt that if this is the case he would withdraw immediately if there is the least possibility of a potential conflict of interest.

In view of the above I am of the opinion that Vince Cassar has been unfairly criticised.

One final point: is the role of MEPA Chairman a full-time post?  The answer depends on whether MEPA has a Chief Executive Officer.  If in the affirmative, that is if MEPA has a CEO it is reasonable to expect that a part-time MEPA Chairman could do the job adequately. With a CEO in place the role of MEPA Chairman is to Chair Board meetings and not to run the organisation. With the MEPA Chairman not being involved in the daily running of the organisation he would be more in a position to hold MEPA’s officers to account. That is the MEPA Board’s function and can only be carried out adequately if the MEPA Chairman is not a full timer.

3 comments on “The MEPA Chairman & private practice

  1. There is no such thing as a part-time chairman, Karm… what we are talking about is a non-exe3cutive post. There are hundreds around us, even in malta, indeed in both public and private sectors… so what’s the fuss???? Whether or not there is a CEO, or a managing director, or one or mre executive directors, or a general manager or a management team or a maagement board or a team of managers, is really quite immaterial. Each organisation sets its own style of management and administration, and indeed changes and adapts over time as well. We are really mixing up public appointments on boards with management styles….

    • You are right to use the term non-executive Chairman. The whole point is that the Chairman should ideally not be involved in the running of the organization.

      It is more important in MEPA’s case because the MEPA Board has also a quasi-judicial function in that it has to decide on applications in respect of which the MEPA officers would have submitted recommendations.

      With an executive (or full-time) MEPA Chairman an amount of conflict would arise as he could be involved in the process leading to the recommendation and then take part in the decision on the said recommendation. It is what past Chairmen (the executive ones or full timers) did.

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