Foundation for Medical Services has 13 ‘persons of trust’, including chef

Controversial recruitment practice continues despite Auditor General's warning.

 

The Foundation for Medical Services (FMS) continues to recruit staff on a ‘person of trust’ basis instead of through competitive processes, despite warnings from the National Audit Office (NAO) to end the practice.

In reply to a Freedom of Information request by The Shift, the FMS, under the remit of Health Minister Chris Fearne, said it has 13 persons of trust on its payroll.

The list (published below) shows that some of the top administrators of the island’s health service are persons of trust on lucrative contracts through political appointments.

The FMS has also used the method to employ staff such as the chef at Mount Carmel Hospital, the country’s primary mental health care facility, and even messengers and drivers at the Health Ministry.

The highest-paid member of staff remains Fearne’s former campaign manager Carmen Ciantar whose annual package was €163,000, according to her last known contract.

Ciantar is refusing to publish her new contract in defiance of an order by the Information and Data Protection Commissioner, who recently issued an enforcement notice for her to abide by the decision.

The financial packages of other persons of trust vary from €83,000 paid to Stephen Agius, Chief Operations Officer at Mater Dei Hospital, to €16,000 earned by a driver at Sir Paul Boffa Hospital.

Persons of trust on the FMS payroll include John Boxall, Labour’s long-serving Birgu mayor, and Victoria Sultana, the Nursing Director at Mount Carmel Hospital, who is receiving a salary of almost €69,000 a year.

Even Ciantar’s driver was selected on a person of trust basis.

In its audit published in 2021, the NAO described the FMS as “a recruitment agency for the Health Ministry”.

The NAO had also found administrative irregularities, with promotions being given to staff before they even sat for interviews, employees paid salaries higher than what they were entitled to, and persons of trust being employed on an indefinite basis in contravention of public service rules.

Although the number of persons of trust on the Foundation’s books was reduced following the general elections this year, the method is still being used to recruit those loyal to the minister.

“The system has not really changed. Instead of putting everyone on the same list at the FMS, persons of trust are now being distributed across other departments and entities within the ministry to make the practice less visible,” internal sources said.

                           
                           
                               
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Joey Falzon
Joey Falzon
1 month ago

mela….from persons of trust to FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT within a few months…that is why these have been reduced in numbers over these last few months. Interesting to know if any of the employees are related to the people on this list. It would be also interesting to compare the list of the full employees’ complement, verifying the names with other high-ranking public officials in other departments/entities. Some interesting matches may be surprising!!!!!

Mick
Mick
1 month ago

Consiglieri’s looking after their own guarantees loyalty and another vote. Leeches to a man!

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