Statement from Board Director Liam Carrigan
Today Honi revealed that Board Directors have been abusing their Cabcharge privileges. Here, Director Liam Carrigan responds.
The USU policy relevant to the use of Cabcharge cards allows directors to use the card in the following instances:
“When I am attending an event, meeting or program in my capacity as a Board Director outside of business hours.
- When my attendance at an event, meeting or program in my capacity as a Board Director will otherwise make me late for a pre-existing commitment.
- In urgent situations, when pre-existing circumstances will otherwise make me late for an event, meeting or program I am required to attend in my capacity as a Board Director.
- Any other situation approved by the President or Honorary Treasurer.”
I signed a document agreeing to be bound by this policy and have only ever breached it in situations where I believed myself to have no other alternative means to return home safely. I have already taken the appropriate steps to reimburse the Union in these instances.
During the month of January, in which I used my Cabcharge 27 times, I was spending an average of thirty hours per week attending to USU business on campus, where I was working on the numerous projects that I am engaged in as a board director.
I used my Cabcharge to ensure that I would arrive at meetings and events on time and to dedicate myself to the role in my fullest capacity, despite the significant distance I live from the University. The only other occasions I used the card was when there was no possible alternative transport at night to ensure I returned home safely to my residence.
Upon the board being asked to return their cabcharges I met with the relevant human resources staff member to ask for a record of my usage to ensure I had acted within the guidelines and identify the occasions I had not, so that I could reimburse the Union. I had not been prompted or advised to do so or warned of any issue with my individual usage. The details of my usage had not previously been provided to me and I only became aware of them today when contacted for comment. I told the staff member in person upon returning the card I needed the dates of my usage to justify my usage and amend any incorrect usage. This would ensure that my usage of the cabchage was within the guidelines set by the organisation.
I do not have a drivers’ licence or a car and this is currently my only form of employment due to my desire to serve this organisation in my fullest capactiy. I am only paid $290 dollars a month and had no financial means to pay for the transport to and from home at the times I had no other option but to use the cabcharge to return home safely. It takes over two hours by bus to reach the house where I lived throughout the month of January. These services do not take me directly home and are not available late at night. This is why the January totals were so high in my case, as a two-way trip can amount to up to $100.
I believe that directors must be accountable for their actions and believe that I am acting in such a way, considering I had dealt with this issue personally as soon as able without being directed to do so or accused of any misuse. Without being provided with the requested and now forthcoming documentation of my exact usage I am unable to reimburse the Union as I have intended.