Questions over financial management at Board

By Daniel Easterman, February 20, 2014

A former senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies has demanded greater financial transparency to explain how it went into the red last year.

Jerry Lewis, the deputy for Hampstead Synagogue, was dissatisfied with the official explanation that the deficit had been caused by “one-off unanticipated staffing costs”.

“We are entitled to be told exactly what these costs are,” Mr Lewis said at the Board’s plenary on Sunday. He asked if they had to do “with the departure of a senior member of staff from the Board? It’s very odd for the Board to pay somebody when they are leaving.”

Mr Lewis said that it was “wrong not to be given this crucial piece of information,” he said. “I’m not going to wait until the accounts are presented later in the year. Now is the opportunity to come clean.”

But president Vivian Wineman later said that he was “furious” with Mr Lewis as the question had already been asked in June and violated Board procedural rules.

Mr Wineman added: “I don’t see why confidential matters relating to the Board and its former chief executive have to be brought out into the public.”

Its last full-time chief executive, Jon Benjamin, left in May 2012 to pursue “new opportunities”. The Board this week advertised for a successor at a salary of around £100,00 a year.

Last updated: 5:45pm, February 20 2014