No breach – Petrojam manager defends controversial salary

Human Resource Manager at Petrojam Yolande Ramharrack today tried to defend the relatively high salary she is receiving annually, adding that there has been no breach of the basic salary scale that the finance ministry established for the state-owned refinery.

The basic salary scale for all managers at Petrojam, she explained, ranges from $6 million to $9 million annually.

She emphasized that there is a clear distinction between basic salary, and the total payment package that includes allowances.

“I believe that we keep making reference to total compensation (including allowances) which is different from a basic salary. The basic salary range has never been breached. We follow what is dictated by the Ministry of Finance,” the Human Resource Manager told parliament’s Public Administrations and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) today, July 4.

What I earn…

Meanwhile,  the PAAC today received conflicting figures for the total payment package that the current Human Resource Manager is to receive annually.

Ramharrack said she is earning $12 million – including allowances.

But Acting General Manager at Petrojam Telroy Morgan told the PAAC that, based on his information, Ramharrack actually earns $13.04 million.

Ramharrack then tried to explain the difference.

“…There are instances where one’s wage negotiation – we have signed off on those, then there are things that of course we do pay in terms of a claim. So, when I just came, there was one outstanding year which was unsigned. We have since done that and we have moved along the process,” she said.

Human Resource Manager at Petrojam Yolande Ramharrack during today’s sitting of the PAAC

There have been concerns that the current Human Resource Manager is earning millions more than her predecessor, Roselee Scott-Heron.

The PAAC heard that Scott-Heron was earning a total package of $9.82 million when she was fired in December last year.

Scott-Heron, who has taken the matter of her dismissal to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, holds a Master’s Degree – unlike Ramharrack whose pay is higher despite her highest degree being a Bachelor’s.

A quick rise

Meanwhile, another issue raised at the PAAC meeting today is the fact that the current Human Resource Manager, Ramharrack, received a relatively large pay increase within months of being in the post at Petrojam.

She explained that, when she started at the entity in February last year, she was earning a basic salary of some $6.9 million annually. When all benefits were added, she was earning a package of roughly $10 million at the start.

Less than three months later, her total package (including allowances) jumped to $13.04 million, said the Acting General Manager at Petrojam, Morgan.

Chairman of the PAAC, Dr Wykeham McNeill, said the quick rise in pay seems unusual.

Morgan tried to explained how increases are granted. “Once you enter a [payment] band, you typically enter at the bottom and work your way up through merit increases year on year, based on performance appraisal.”

“There are times where certain adjustments may need to be made based on experiences, the level at which you are coming in at, and there are considerations around those,” added Morgan.

He told the PAAC that he is not sure if a performance appraisal was done for the current Human Resource Manager. General Manager at Petrojam, Floyd Grindley, was absent from today’s sitting of the PAAC.

By Horace Mills

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