Saturday, March 28, 2009

Alberta Health Superboard gets super pay raise

It seems that the abolition of the local boards now will provide the funds for raising the pay of the super board. The whole issue of centralization of authority together with increased bonuses should raise super ire among Albertans.

Critics blast Alberta health board's 25% raises
Last Updated: Friday, March 27, 2009 | 7:27 PM MT
CBC News

Provincial critics are furious about a 25 per cent pay raise that the Alberta Health Services board voted for themselves earlier this week.

Board members approved the increase at a meeting in Red Deer on Wednesday. It will see them take home $50,000 a year for the part-time position, as well as $750 for each board meeting.

Chairman Ken Hughes will be paid $75,000 annually, as well as $1,000 for each board meeting he attends. There are about four board meetings a month.

"Board members shouldn't get bonuses for attending board meetings — that's their job," Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason said on Thursday.

Rates released in June for the interim board had set honoraria at $40,000 annually for the 15 board members, and $60,000 for Hughes.
Money could be better used in health

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann said the money could be better used to find and hire more doctors and nurses, and to build more capacity in the province's hospitals.

"These board members are taking home so-called honorariums that are worth more than most people make in a year at full-time jobs," Swann said in a statement on Thursday. "And we're asking seniors to pay more out of pocket for prescription drugs?"

The Calgary MLA questioned the timing of the increases when the Alberta Health Services board faces a deficit of $1.3 billion.

'We're serving because we think we can make a big difference.'—Ken Hughes, Alberta Health Services board

An Alberta Health official said this week that Health Minister Ron Liepert asked the board to send him a proposal based on compensation for other boards of groups that are a similar size.

Hughes said Wednesday that Liepert approved those numbers.

"Most of us are not serving for the honoraria," Hughes told reporters. "We're serving because we think we can make a big difference."

The superboard is in charge of delivering health care in Alberta, after Liepert dismantled the province's nine former health regions and three other organizations.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said it's too early to be paying increases to people who have not yet proven themselves, and that raises should be given in relation to improvements to the health-care system.

"This government is doling out bonuses to every fat cat with their hand out," Mason said. "Meanwhile, 30,000 Albertans who have lost their jobs have been told to tighten their belts

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