UCD is looking for a new Bursar after Gerry O’Brien left the role to become Chief Operating Officer at the University of Limerick.

The Bursar is one of the most powerful and highest paid positions on campus. Appointed on a ten-year fixed term role, the new Bursar will earn either €146,543 or €150,769 or per annum, depending on if and when they joined the public service. The Bursar’s functions are set out in Statute 6, Chapter 12, which came into effect under then-President Hugh Brady in June 2005.They serve as ‘Chief Adviser to the President and to the Governing Authority on the financial management of the University.’

UCD President Andrew Deeks recently called on staff to help find a replacement. He explained how the new Bursar will lead ‘integrated strategic, financial planning and budgeting in all areas of the University including the building programme and the upgrade of campus facilities.’ UCD is using PwC accountants to help with the search. Applications close in the middle of March.

O’Brien’s departure was somewhat of a surprise given recent events. Originally appointed in 2007, his term was set to expire last year. In May 2017, UCD introduced Statute 23 which amended the fixed time limit on the Bursar’s position, which is found in Statute 6, Chapter 12. The sentence ‘The Bursar shall be eligible for reappointment for a period of up to ten years, as recommended by the President and approved by the Governing Authority’ was added to the Statute. It came into effect on the 16th May 2017. At a meeting of the Governing Authority on the 27th June 2017, they approved ‘the reappointment of the Bursar for a 10-year term from 12 September 2017.’

O’Brien, an accountant, became Chief Operating Officer and Registrar of UL at the start of November 2017. He is the only Registrar of an Irish university who is not an academic. UL has been reforming its management and governance structures over the past year following a number of controversies after staff raised concerns about expenses being paid out. Two staff members who raised the issue were suspended. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) published its ‘Report into Certain Matters and Allegations Relating to the University of Limerick’ last November after months of investigation into its governance, HR, and financial practices. The Thorn Report made 36 findings and 10 recommendations against UL, all of which the university accepted.

Cian Carton – Editor

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