Friday, 28 April 2017
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correia2The Irene Rolo Foundation, a social aid institution set up with money from Irene Dulce da Palma Arez Rolo in 1982, is being run as a club for the management past and present, rather than helping the poor in the Tavira area, according to former Tavira Mayor, Macário Correia, who has just quit as Chairman.

The well-regarded charitable foundation helps people with disabilities, their families and as other vulnerable groups, in the areas of care, rehabilitation, vocational training and social integration with a view to making their lives better, according to the foundation's website, but the foundation’s management has been accused of awarding itself unwarranted payments in a series of generous fiddles designed, not to help the poor and socially disadvantaged, but to help former managers and current staff.

Macário Correia, no stranger to controversy after stints as mayor in Tavira and then Portimão, abruptly has quit the unpaid job of Chairman of the foundation, saying he can no longer fundraise and appeal for help when the foundation displays such a disregard for its clients in favour of featherbedding employees and former managers, one of which who continued on the payroll until 2016, well into his 80s, despite having reached retirement age in 2001.  

Macário Correia decided to publish his resignation on his Facebook page and opted to outline the various financial scams at the foundation which he has reported to the authorities.

Correia says he has quit as Chairman "with a clear conscience and leave behind three years of serious work with no remuneration whatsoever,” not even claiming expenses as he had "assumed the money saved could be used for the benefit of the foundation’s clients."

“I dedicated my efforts to the foundation,” and raised funds to be used for vehicles and equipment, “I asked a lot of people for help. Some helped with projects, some gave equipment, some gave money,” but when Correia found out that a previous administrator was still on the payroll and was receiving a daily meal allowance, while still eating for free at the foundation, Correia says he could not continue to raise money from his extensive list of friends and supportes when money was being wasted in such a manner.

The misuse of the meal allowance system has cost the foundation around €25,000 over the years, claims Correia, money that could have been put to better use.

Correia also discovered that in 2002 and 2004, a monthly sum of €450 was being given to the previous President and the Administration Secretary. This was not necessarily illegal but should have been reported and declared to Social Security, and should have been recorded by the foundation’s fiscal council.

This has cost another €100,000 in unnecessary expense, says Correia whose social media outpouring inevitably will damage the foundation’s future fundraising efforts unless its counterclaim is credible.

Correia said that a few weeks ago, he was asked to sign a group of cheques and he came across one made out to one of the managers as reimbursement for travel and lunches, items of expenditure that Correia knew falsely attributed to the foundation. Feeling trapped in a system designed to serve itself, rather than its clients, Correia resigned.

This sort of public outburst is one of Correia’s trademarks, as is the unerring conviction that he is right and everyone else is wrong but if things at the foundation are as described, the police will become involved as well as the tax and social security departments.

Whether the Irene Rollo Foundation’s accounts and internal financial controls will stand up to scrutiny by authorities remains to be seen but by Correia going public, the reputational damage is done and the overall figure of €500,000 that Correia claims has been spent illegally, will stick in people's minds.   

Another option would have been for Correia to remain as Chairman and clean up the system from the inside, but he says the foundation's management structure is deeply flawed as it has no elections, there is no board of Trustees and hence there is no general assembly or opportunity to change anything - not quite what Irene Dulce da Palma Arez Rolo has in mind, at all....

 

See:

 https://www.facebook.com/josemacario.correia

Correia's list of complaints::

 

Servir ou servir-se da solidariedade

1. Em março de 2014 fui designado pelo Centro Distrital de Segurança Social de Faro como Presidente do Conselho de Admimistração da Fundação Irene Rolo sedeada em Tavira..

2. Desempenhei a função, sem pedir nada em troca. Gastei dinheiro do meu bolso em combustives, telefones e outras despesas. Dei diariamente o meu tempo á instituição e aos seus desfavorecidos utentes. Dei também equipamentos meus para a Fundação. Estou de muito boa consciência.

3. Fui dedicando o meu esforço á organização da Fundação, a novos projetos e a novas valências, com mais viaturas, mais equipamentos, mais donativos e mais atividades. Pedi ajuda a muita gente. Uns deram projetos, outros equipamentos, outros dinheiro. E o que fica feito a todos orgulha.

4. Entretanto vim a saber que uma pessoa da Administração, com idade de reforma plena em 2001, manteve-se até final de 2016, paga pela Fundação, altura em que já com 80 anos e a contragosto pediu a aposentação do lugar de funcionária da instituição. Recebeu cerca de 340 mil euros da Fundação, o que se poderia ter evitado, sem prejuizo nenhum da própria. Nenhuma outra instituição pública ou privada manteria esta situação com tamanha perda evitável de recursos.

5. Esta mesma pessoa recebia todos os dias um subsidio de refeição pago pela bitola mais alta, mas diariamente alimentava-se na instituição. Assim se pagaram indevidamente cerca de 25 mil euros.

6. Descobri há dias que por deliberações de 2002 e de 2004 foi atribuida uma verba mensal de 450 euros ao anterior Presidente e á Secretária da Administração. Nunca tal foi do conhecimento da Segurança Social, como determinam os Estatutos, nem do Conselho Fiscal. Todavia a remuneração era possivel legalmente nas condições estatutárias, desde que justificada e comunicada, o que não terá ocorrido. Apenas o anterior Presidente tinha deslocações expressivas e seria justificável o seu reembolso. Tais decisões, as duas,acarretaram despesas de cerca de 100 mil euros.

7. Percebi há dias que num dos casos tal era justificado como ajudas de custo, para refeições tomadas na instituição e pagas por esta e para deslocações da residência para o
local da sede. A legislação aplicável dispõe de modo diferente.

8. Tomei conhecimento de que 4 funcionários da instituição recebiam diariamente a refeição e o o subsidio de refeição. E assim se gastam desnecesariamente mais uns milhares de euros. E com a injustiça e desigualdade com os demais.

9.Soube também agora que se pagava a todos os funcionários um valor de subsidio de refeição, acima do estipulado no Acordo Coletetivo de Trabalho. Tal implica uma despesa anual de mais 25 mil euros.

10. E perante as decisões necessárias para corrigir estas e outras situações, face á crise financeira da instituição, percebi que não tenho a solidariedade das demais pessoas da Administração. Foi cerca de meio milhão de euros, que na sua maior parte seriam despesas evitáveis.

11. Sinto uma certa vergonha e embaraço em explicar isto aos que pedi para ajudarem a instituição. E foram tantos.

Sendo assim,nestas circunstâncias, não tenho condições para conduzir os destinos da instituição, o que comuniquei ontem á Segurança Social e aos titulares dos orgãos sociais, bem como aos técnicos com funções de chefia na Fundação.

Faço-o com a consciência tranquila de deixar três anos de trabalho sério e sem remuneração nenhuma, como supunha sinceramente que se aplicaria a mais pessoas.

Tavira, 9 de Março de 2017

Comments  

0 #6 Ana Iris 2017-03-15 18:22
I work occassionaly as a volunteer at FIR.
As for the lack of managerial structure or financial irregularities I cannot comment, but by going public with his comments Mr Correira has damaged the good name of a most fantasic institution , caring for a wide range of very vunerable clients, forever, no matter what the outcome will be. The damage is done and we all know who will suffer the most. The clients who love to go there daily , the residents, but also some very fine and dedicated professionals who work very hard to make FIR a better place.

No doubt Mr Correirra could have called upon the neccessary legal powers without going public in such a dramatic fashion
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0 #5 CHARLY 2017-03-13 16:46
I know Macario Correia personally and I have lots of sympathy for the man we know as a very dedicated, active, social, capable (engineer) and helpful person. When he accepted this job I suppose he had been briefed and if not why did he wait 3 years to make all these allegations public ? One it is "one man against the system" and that can become harshly !
Sad story.
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+1 #4 Margaridaana 2017-03-13 15:20
Surprised at Peter Booker's comments. Macario has a very bad record in Tavira. Think Ria Formosa for one.
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+1 #3 Ed 2017-03-13 11:07
Quoting peter booker:
How sad. As you know, Ed, I have a high regard for Macário Correia. My esteem is based on work that he did as Presidente of the Câmara in Tavira, and his efforts at culture change among Câmara staff. He has paid a heavy price for seeking progress.

His actions here are strange, but let us bear in mind the persecution he has suffered at the hands of the Lisbon "élite". It may be that he can be criticised for making public the whole issue; or perhaps for not knowing over the past three years what was going on. But if he really did not know, I do not see how he can help any investigation into these matters as unpaid chairman. Far better to leave the investigation to the police and DSS. He will still be available as a witness.

Indeed, this is sad and highlights the lack of checks and balances in this well-regarded institution. If there is no board of Trustees, this needs to be changed and almost certainly is contrary to the relevant laws governing not-for-profit organisations.
Correia had various options and has at least chosen one, rather than doing nothing. As you say, this now is a matter for the authorities but the fundraising capacity of the foundation will have been damaged. Some 'regime change' clearly is needed: Sra Dulce da Palma Arez Rolo will will it so from her celestial vantage point.
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+1 #2 peter booker 2017-03-13 10:20
How sad. As you know, Ed, I have a high regard for Macário Correia. My esteem is based on work that he did as Presidente of the Câmara in Tavira, and his efforts at culture change among Câmara staff. He has paid a heavy price for seeking progress.

His actions here are strange, but let us bear in mind the persecution he has suffered at the hands of the Lisbon "élite". It may be that he can be criticised for making public the whole issue; or perhaps for not knowing over the past three years what was going on. But if he really did not know, I do not see how he can help any investigation into these matters as unpaid chairman. Far better to leave the investigation to the police and DSS. He will still be available as a witness.
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+2 #1 Margaridaana 2017-03-13 09:01
Pot calling kettle black methinks.
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