The university paid the accounting firm €7,800 in 2011 and €8,166 in 2012. According to Nieuwsuur, EY was paid this fee in compensation for the hours Balkenende was not able to work for EY. He could not work for EY full time because he was also serving as a professor of law and economics at Erasmus University.
In a comment to Nieuwsuur, the university stated that the former prime minister is a ‘non-salaried’ employee. In other words, he is not paid for the 0.2 FTE’s worth of activities he undertakes at the university. “However, this type of appointment does allow us to reimburse him for the costs he incurs, on the basis of the expense claims he submits,” an EUR spokesperson wrote to Nieuwsuur on behalf of the Executive Board. “It is common for employees to be able to claim expenses.”
On the current affairs show, experts were asked for their views on the legal construction. They said they found it ‘undesirable’ and ‘exceptional’ that funds allocated to a teaching budget should end up being paid to a company. According to the experts, expense claims should be used for things such as travelling expenses, not for ‘loss of income by [an employee’s] other employer’.
Overview of professors’ ancillary activities still lacking
The TV programme Nieuwsuur has revealed that Dutch universities keep incomplete and…
Balkenende holds several jobs elsewhere. According to Nieuwsuur, the university did not grant formal permission for the majority of these jobs. Furthermore, he is exempt from the requirement that he conduct research. According to a spokesperson for the Erasmus School of Economics, the latter is one of the perks of a ‘non-salaried position’. The spokesperson did say that Balkenende has always been transparent about his other jobs. “Take, for instance, the list of secondary occupations he had while serving on the supervisory board of ING, or take his LinkedIn page. By the way, he feels that most people are quite aware of the types of activities former prime ministers engage in,” ESE said in its reaction to Nieuwsuur.
The experts quoted in the current affairs show said that there was reason to question Balkenende’s academic integrity, because due to the payments made to EY, his work as a professor could be considered an extension of his paid job at EY.
“We have a well-functioning and audited system for the registration of ancillary activities and in this we have found a number of deficiencies which we are now working on”, the university said in a written response after the publication.
This needs a serious and thorough investigation. As the facts stand, it is shameful. Balkenende did do research. Did he teach? Probably not. What did he do? Probably just took a couple of photos and that’s it. EUR and ESL could be more clear and just say that they hired him as photo model.Perhaps that could explain his fee.