For discussion FCR(95-96)63
on 27 October 1995
ITEM FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 56 - GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT : PLANNING, ENVIRONMENT AND LANDS BRANCH AND WORKS BRANCH
Subhead 110 Honoraria for members of committees
Members are invited to -
- accept the financial implications, estimated at $10,920 in 1995-96 and $92,890 for a full year, of paying an honorarium to the Chairman of the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board; and
- delegate to the Secretary for the Treasury the power to authorise revisions for the rates of payment in accordance with future revisions of civil service pensions.
The Chairman of the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board does not receive any remuneration currently payable to the chairmen of similar Appeal Boards.
2. We propose to remunerate the Chairman of the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board on the same scale as that for the chairman of similar Appeal Boards on pollution control matters, i.e., an annual retainer fee of $71,050, and $3,640 for each sitting and $7,280 for each written decision. In line with present practice, we shall pay the annual retainer fee only once if the same person is appointed to chair two or more of these Appeal Boards.
3. We also propose to delegate to the Secretary for the Treasury the power to authorise revisions of the rates in line with future revisions of civil service pensions.
4. The Dumping at Sea Ordinance, which came into effect on 1 April 1995, provides for the setting up of an independent Appeal Board to deal with appeals against decisions of public officers on dumping at sea control matters. The Governor has recently made appointments to the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board, comprising a Chairman and a panel of members. The Ordinance provides that the Chairman should be a person who is qualified for appointment as a District Judge. We have set up similar Appeal Boards under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354), the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 311), the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 358) and the Noise Control Ordinance (Cap. 400).
5. The Chairman of the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board has to conduct and chair a hearing on every application for appeal. He has to consider and determine whether a party should provide particular information or evidence, issue notices prior to hearings and write up the decisions of the Appeal Board. These tasks are time-consuming and require considerable expertise and experience on the part of the Chairman.
6. The Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands considers that we should appropriately remunerate the Chairman of the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board. As the working procedures of this Appeal Board and the level of responsibility on the Board Chairman are very similar to the four Appeal Boards on other pollution control matters, it is reasonable to remunerate the Chairmen similarly.
7. The current Chairman of the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board is also the appointed Chairman of the other four Appeal Boards on pollution control matters. He has been receiving the annual retainer fee only once for chairing the latter four Appeal Boards and has indicated that he does not need to receive another annual retainer fee for chairing the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board. On 8 July 1994, in considering payment of an honorarium to the Chairman of the Waste Disposal Appeal Board, Members approved the proposal that we should pay the annual retainer fee only once if a person is appointed to chair two or more of the Appeal Boards. We consider that the same rule should apply to the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board. In accordance with the practice currently applicable to the other Appeal Boards, the Secretary for the Treasury will authorise revisions to the rates in line with future revisions of civil service pensions, if Members approve the proposed delegation of authority.
8. We estimate that the cost for implementing the proposal for the remaining months in 1995-96 will be $10,920 assuming only one appeal case to be processed in the remaining months of the financial year. The proposal will cost $92,890 on a full year assuming a total of two appeal cases a year and including the payment of an annual retainer fee if the Chairman of the Dumping at Sea Appeal Board is not at the same time the chairman of any of the other four Appeal Boards on pollution control matters. There is sufficient provision in the 1995-96 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.
9. On 5 March 1993, Members agreed that the principles adopted since 1980 for remunerating non-official members serving on all boards and committees set up by the Government should continue to apply. The general principle was that such service is voluntary and normally un-remunerated. Where remuneration is considered appropriate having regard to the merits of an individual case, it should normally be in respect of payment of expenses and/or for compensation for earnings forgone.
10. On 6 March 1992, Members approved the payment of an honorarium to the Chairman of the three Appeal Boards appointed under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, the Water Pollution Control Ordinance and the Noise Control Ordinance. On 8 July 1994, they approved the same for the Chairman of the Appeal Board appointed under the Waste Disposal Ordinance.
Planning, Environment and Lands Branch
Last Updated on 2 December 1998