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Union renews call for independent investigation of “smelly” severance arrangements

If Premier Campbell really wants to get the goods on rich severance provisions for ex-health executives, he should call in his six hand-picked health authority board chairs, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

“There’s nothing wrong with the premier’s sense of smell,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “The rich severance provisions being handed out to ex-health care bosses stinks.”

“But there’s an equally strong odor coming from the premier’s office,” says Allnutt. “After all, his cabinet appointed the six men who have absolute authority to finalize severance arrangements for ex-health bosses from the former health regions.”

The union is renewing its call for an independent investigation into the severance deals. And Allnutt says any such arm’s length review should determine whether the board chairs of the six new health authorities made every effort to productively redeploy health executives in a manner that minimized their severance pay-outs. In addition, an investigation should review whether the government has rigorously enforced compliance with the 1997 legislative guidelines established to address abuse of severance provisions.

“This government is sending out mixed messages about how it will deal with ex-health bosses,” says Allnutt. “The health services minister says that he’s not happy about severance arrangements but says they’re not out of line with the private sector.”

But now his premier is considering a review of these arrangements.

“It’s time to clear up the confusion with an independent investigation that will determine how much taxpayers will be bilked for the decisions made by his hand-picked health czars.”

The union has filed Freedom of Information requests for details of the severance arrangements made in all the new health authorities.

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