A quango set up to promote Gaelic has been branded a “total disaster” by politicians who say bosses are failing to justify their massive salaries.
Inverness-based Bord na Gaidhlig came under fire from SNP MSP Alex Neil, who claimed senior managers were not doing enough to warrant bumper pay packets.
The board and upper management of the publicly-funded body were accused of letting down Gaelic speakers when its performance was scrutinised by Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee.
MSPs condemned the leadership team and questioned its policy of only employing Gaelic speakers.
It was questioned whether such an approach was legal or discriminatory under employment law.
The Auditor General, Caroline Gardner, said the Gaelic-only approach diminished the recruitment pool and said its legality would need to be looked at.
The discussions followed the publication of a damning Audit Scotland report last month, which blasted the organisation for having ineffective leadership, poor relationships and organisation.
Yesterday, the committee was told that chief executive Shona MacLennan was on a package of £90,000 and other senior managers were paid between £65,000 and £85,000.
Mr Neil suggested the management was “top-heavy” for an organisation which only turned over £5 million each year and had 19 members of staff.
He said: “Quite frankly, with an organisation like this, a second tier manager could run it in their tea-break. It is a small organisation, yet it seems to be a total disaster.
“Loads of people in the Gaelic community will feel let down by what is happening here.”
Mr Neil added that senior managers were “were not justifying the level of salary they are on” and questioned why they and the board were still in place.
Mr Neil added: “They are badly letting down people and, if they can’t get their act together, then they should go.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said he had never seen a more “damning” report into an organisation’s governance.
He asked whether the board and management were “enthusiastic amateurs who were way out of their depth or just incompetent”.
A Bord na Gaidhlig spokeswoman said: “The Bòrd na Gàidhlig board recognised the need to develop new ways of working and embarked on a comprehensive programme of change.
“This programme is well under way, with more than 60% of the actions recommended being achieved within four months of receiving the report, and the remainder on target to be completed by the end of this financial year.”