AHS Challenged for Outrageous Severance Payments

Edmonton - Alberta Health Services (AHS) paid $738,000 in severance to an Executive Vice President, Andrew Will, who left in February, after only 18 months on this job. The payment also included $99,000 in "at risk pay" for the 18-month severance period. Friends of Medicare Executive Director Sandra Azocar says, "this is yet another insult to Alberta's health care workers and taxpayers, and we want the Auditor General to review it."

"This sweetheart deal makes a mockery of everything AHS has told Albertans about its executive contracts," says Azocar.  "AHS says they standardized the contracts to be 12 months' severance; but they paid Mr. Will 18 months."
AHS had indicated that they had replaced bonuses with a standardized 'at risk pay' scheme, that's supposed to be tied to meeting objective performance goals. In this case, AHS paid $99,000 for a period of 18 months but has yet to explain what performance goals this is based on. 

"AHS and the Government constantly say, 'Our hands are tied, it's in the contract' - but this giveaway was in the contract only because AHS put it there." They gave this sweetheart deal to an executive who went straight to the equivalent job in Saskatchewan; but in the case of another Executive VP who also left this Spring, the severance was only 12 months, and its clawed back if she gets another job during the severance period.

"AHS is simply making it up as they go along, doling out taxpayers' money any way they want.   The 'at risk pay' scheme is so arbitrary that it can even be added onto severance, if they feel like it", Azocar adds.

"It is important that Albertans realize that this isn't about past contracts, it is about what AHS has and continues to do with its gold plated executive contracts." If the Premier and the new Board Chair want Albertans to have confidence in AHS, they need to call in the Auditor General to review all of AHS's executive contracts, including the severance deals of the two Executive VPs who left this Spring."

We need public dollars to go into quality public healthcare not outrageous executive packages.
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