Two members of the Irish Professional Auctioneers and Valuers Association (IPAV) governing council have resigned in the past few months over corporate governance and financial transparency failures. The organisation is set to hold its AGM in Dublin at the end of the month.
Veteran council member Tim Ryan, in one of the resignation letters seen by The Ditch, has asked IPAV CEO Pat Davitt, a former Fianna Fáil officer, why the chief executive's annual salary was never disclosed in the organisation’s annual reports.
Meanwhile former IPAV council senior vice president Joanne Lavelle told Davitt she felt “personally ashamed” about the treatment of the current IPAV President Gerry Coffey in her resignation letter sent in March this year.
IPAV “was established in 1971 as a representative professional body for qualified, licensed auctioneers, property service providers, valuers and estate agents throughout Ireland”, according to its website.
Despite having only seven employees and owning its Dublin office, annual expenditure at IPAV reached €1,142,276 in 2022.
‘By the way, what salary are you on?’
PR consultant Tim Ryan, a 25-year IPAV veteran, told Davitt he was resigning from the council “with immediate effect” following a meeting with the CEO the day before.
Ryan raised the issue of Davitt’s salary – which IPAV hasn’t disclosed.
“By the way, what salary are you on? It never appears in the annual report. Bizarre!” wrote the former council member in his letter.
Key management compensation at IPAV was €244,709 in 2022. It is not made clear in the accounts if this figure relates only to CEO Pat Davitt’s annual salary or includes other staff.
Ryan also took issue with how he says he was treated.
“After 25 years service with IPAV, you reduced my retainer from 20k pa (per annum) to €6.5k. You were like Scrooge – and subtracting – €50 here and there. How dare you treat me like that,” wrote Ryan in his resignation letter dated October 18, 2022. It is understood however that Ryan had reduced some of the services he had been providing the body.
Ryan’s acrimonious departure from IPAV was followed by the resignation of the governing council’s senior vice president just five months later.
“I will be stepping down from council as senior vice president with immediate effect,” said Joanne Lavelle in correspondence sent to Davitt on 30 March.
Lavelle, a county Louth-based auctioneer, cited issues with accountability and transparency in her letter seen by The Ditch.
“In spite of the recent introduction of corporate governance into the organisation, IPAV still falls short of how we should be operating. The current structure lacks cohesion and accountability, in my view,” said Lavelle.
Lavelle wrote that “council members are being expected to make decisions in the absence of full clarity, expertise and transparency” and that she felt “professionally and personally ashamed about the treatment of our current president”.
Lavelle then took aim at Davitt.
“The CEO advised me at a meeting in Dundalk earlier this month that if I was not ‘on his team’, then he would call on council in May to vote for an alternative president for 2023,” wrote Lavelle, referring to IPAV’s upcoming AGM.
IPAV has net assets of €3,482,190, including almost €2.7 million in cash reserves, according to its most recent accounts filed with the CRO in September 2022.
Last September Davitt said he would step down at the end of 2022 after a decade as IPAV CEO. He remains as CEO of the body despite this announcement.
IPAV declined to comment.