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The Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) says it’s “encouraged” by Premier Campbell’s recent move to undertake a review of the controversial $700,000 severance package granted to former health boss Pat Zanon by the Fraser Health Authority.

In a letter to union secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt, Campbell writes that he has asked Hugh MacLeod, interim CEO of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, to review concerns with the sizeable golden handshake that was reached under questionable circumstances last Dec. 11 - the day before Victoria unveiled its sweeping restructuring of health care governance.

Campbell was responding to an April 9 letter from HEU, in which the union provided the Premier with evidence to show that the $700,000 deal was improperly executed and invalid. The union charged that at the time she entered into the agreement with Zanon, health boss Linda Cranston did not have legal authority to do so. Cranston is now CEO of the Provincial Health Services Authority, and is the top decision-maker for facilities like B.C. Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

The union had asked Campbell to overturn the improper agreement, recoup the monies paid to Zanon, and set up an independent investigation into lavish severance payouts for administrators that will cost the health system millions of dollars.

“We’re pleased that we were able to provide the Liberals with the evidence that will let them put things right,” says HEU’s Allnutt.

“While we didn’t get full satisfaction from the Premier on the remedies we asked his government to undertake, we’re encouraged that they have at least agreed to take a second look at the deal.” Allnutt says his union will cooperate fully with MacLeod in an effort to get to the bottom of the controversy, and to restore public confidence in the integrity of severance arrangements for health care administrators.


Stephen Howard, HEU communications director,