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Remuneration rumble at RA

A 33 per cent cut in the monthly payments for commissioners at the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda has not gone down well.

The board of commissioners has taken issue with the way the reduction was done, which saw the monthly remuneration drop from $9,000 to $6,000 for board members, except for the chairman.

It has called the “purported actions” and “alleged approvals” surrounding the matter “invalid” and has set out six remedy points.

One of those resolutions includes a move to reduce commissioners' remuneration by 10 per cent, from $9,000 to $8,100 per month, for a 12-month period as a way of achieving a Covid-19 relief initiative.

Chairman Mark Fields voted against all six resolutions at this month's board meeting.

The commissioners have investigated the events and circumstances that led to “purported amendments” and reduction of honorarium levels for the board that had existed prior to, and on May 1, 2020.

The board said that in its “firm view” the substance, consequence, process and procedure taken by Denton Williams, the RA's chief executive, on May 1, and Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban's approval on May 28, in the absence of a convened board of commissioners meeting “did not follow the strict statutory requirements of the RA Act”.

At that time, the only commissioners were Mr Field and Dion Smith. Three more commissioners took up their appointments on June 1, they are Gregory Swan, Philip Perinchief, and Michael Wells.

During its investigation, the commissioners held meetings with Mr Fields and Mr Williams.

The board has resolved to adopt the findings of the executive committee regarding the matter, but “reserves the right to redact any portion it deems appropriate or necessary”.

The board has submitted a “request” to the minister. The minutes of its August 13 meeting give no details of what that request contains, but the board will wait a statutory 30 days for a response, and revisit the subject to consider its options.

The board also resolved that “in light of the spirit and letter of the Covid-19 relief initiative, and the request by the minister responsible”, it will encourage RA staff to respond favourably to the request, and the board to effect, as early as September 23, “for a period of 12 months, a 10 per cent reduction of the aforementioned remuneration or monthly contribution per commissioner of $9,000 reducing to $8,100”.

The board added that these amendments are subject to the outcome of its previously made request to the minister.

In another of its six resolutions, the board is to engage the service of an independent assessor of honorarium of comparative regulatory boards to examine and report it findings, “particularly given the increased workload anticipated by the ‘onboarding' of new undertakings and generally”.

When The Royal Gazette asked about the remuneration matter, the RA said neither it nor its chairman had any comment.

Man at helm: Denton Williams, chief executive of the Regulatory Authority (File photograph)

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Published August 24, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 23, 2020 at 10:51 pm)

Remuneration rumble at RA

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