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The health services minister must establish guidelines for health executive expense claims, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

The call comes on the heels of a report carried in the Surrey Leader that Fraser Health Authority chief executive officer Bob Smith racked up nearly $75,000 in expenses during the last fiscal year.

The union has also filed a freedom of information request to determine how Smith managed to spend $14,700 for one month’s living expenses for himself and his wife after they had moved to B.C. from Nova Scotia and were waiting to occupy their new home. Those expenses include $3,000 for hotel and meal costs but the health authority would not disclose to the media the details of the remaining $11,700 in expenses.

Additional expenses related to Smith’s move from Halifax to B.C. to head up the FHA include moving costs ($12,000), airfare ($3,000), real estate commission for selling his Halifax home ($25,300) and legal expenses ($1,000).

“The health services minister has a responsibility to taxpayers to make sure scarce health dollars are spent wisely,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “In the face of long-term care bed closures and longer waits for surgery, the public has every right to question whether Mr. Smith’s expenses are reasonable.”

Allnutt says ministerial guidelines on health executive expense claims should include maximum allowable claim costs related to out-of-province recruitment like real estate commissions and moving expenses.


Mike Old, communications director, 604-828-6771 (cell)