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The third CEO recruited to head the Fraser Health Authority in as many months banked a $330,000 severance deal from B.C. taxpayers just six years ago and is a director of a private health care company that makes most of its money from sales to government, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

Robert Smith, who takes the helm at the FHA in July, pocketed the severance when he was let go from his position as CEO of Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver in 1996.

HEU is renewing its call for a public inquiry into severance arrangements, pay boosts and possible conflicts of interest in the executive suites of B.C.’s six mega health authorities.

“In the face of huge service cuts and plans for the mass firing of health care workers, watching the Campbell Liberals recycle health care CEOs who have already pocketed rich severance deals is a bit hard to take,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Even more disturbing are the links that many of this government’s CEO and board appointees have to private companies with health care interests,” adds Allnutt.

Smith is currently an outside director with Continental Home HealthCare Ltd. - a company that sells and rents medical equipment. About 60 per cent of the company’s revenues come from sales to governments.

Former Provincial Health Services Authority CEO Jim Saunders - let go after just three months on the job - is linked to a private hospital in Calgary.

“It’s past time that the Campbell Liberals shed some light on the pay scales, severance arrangements and private health care connections of those chosen by the Premier to provide leadership in our health care system,” says Allnutt.

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Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-456-7039 (direct)