CEO pay freeze ‘dismays’ hospital
The Ontario government’s freeze of public service managers’ salaries has “dismayed” Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital officials, who are seeking the province’s help to offer “reasonable” pay to the HGMH’s new chief executive officer.
When Premier Doug Ford took office in June, he imposed a freeze on senior public servants’ salaries and ordered a review of executive and management compensation.
The move created a problem for institutions such as the Alexandria hospital, HGMH board chair Corey Kalsi writes in a letter to Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. The missive reads: “I write this letter on behalf of the Board of Directors of Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) in response to the notice from your office that the current approach to broader public sector executive compensation is being suspended.
“We received this news with dismay, and the general feelings among our Board members are those of frustration and hopelessness. There are two primary reasons for these feelings.
“First, while larger hospitals may have teams of staff or budgets to hire consultants to work on their Executive Compensation Programs, our hospital does not have such resources. Instead, the outstandingly dedicated members of our board have worked relentlessly in preparing our submission ever since the Executive Compensation Framework Regulation came into effect on September 6, 2016.
“I could not even begin to quantify the resources we have freely contributed to this endeavour. We have complied with all of the terms and conditions prescribed by the regulation, made all of the necessary submissions, changes, and resubmissions that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care requested, and opened the submission to public consultation. For their work to be swept aside is disheartening to say the least.
“Additionally, as you are likely aware, the salaries of executives have been frozen for the last eight years while the cost of living has continued to increase.
“In our particular case, our CEO's salary has been frozen at $124,752, one of the lowest hospital CEO salaries in the entire province. To make matters worse, our CEO retired in June, and we were heavily relying on receiving approval of our Executive Compensation Program in order to make a reasonable offer to attract a new CEO. The suspension of the program just as it was about to be finalized has created an unexpected obstacle that we cannot overcome without your assistance.
“As volunteers sitting on hospital boards, we strive to better serve our community's health needs, and we need and deserve the support of our government so that we can achieve our common goals. We sincerely hope that your regulatory review of the program will be done swiftly and efficiently so that we can proceed with offering a reasonable salary to our new CEO.”
New CEO hired in July
In July, after an extensive search process, the hospital appointed a new CEO. Michael Cohen joined HGMH after 16 years at the Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa, where he had been Vice President of Clinical Services and Information Management since 2009.
All Ontario broader public sector employers are required to conduct a 30-day public consultation on their proposed Executive Compensation Program. The HGMH reported that in 2016, the Chief of Staff was paid $250,000, the CEO $123,532, the Chief Nursing Officer $112,520 and the Chief Financial Officer $110,637. In 2017, when she was HGMH CEO, Linda Morrow was paid $123,336. Meanwhile, Winchester District Memorial Hospital CEO Cholly Boland received $228,708.