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.