The rigmarole continues at AHS with appointment of new Official Administrator

Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare, issued the following statement today regarding the appointment of Dr. Carl Amrhein as Official Administrator of Alberta Health Services:

"Given that Premier Prentice indicated during his leadership campaign that he would reinstate the AHS Board it is peculiar to see that the government has once again appointed an Official Administrator. Today Alberta Health Services announced that Dr. Carl Amrhein will become the new AHS Official Administrator, a role that was created by previous Health Minister Fred Horne after he fired the AHS board over lucrative bonuses being paid to AHS executives.

Dr. Amrhein is not new to the world of high-level administration, coming directly from the University of Alberta, where Maclean's Magazine named him one of the highest paid academics in Canada in 2007. According to the University of Alberta's 2007 fiscal statements, university President Indira Samarasekera was paid $591,000 in salary and benefits. Amrhein, the 2nd-in-command, earned even more at $599,000, and it only got better from there. In 2014, Dr. Amrhein's base salary and benefits were listed at $702,000.

One of Premier Prentice's key pieces of legislation in the upcoming session will be focused on restoring public trust in government by ending lucrative severance packages. Our hope is that the spirit of the legislation extends to salaries of public officials like Dr. Amrhein and that he will not have the same kind of lucrative contact he had at the University of Alberta. That money will be better spent on improving health care on the front lines."

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Here is a quick history of the rigmarole of the AHS Official Administrator position:
  • In June 2013, Health Minister Fred Horne fired the entire Board of AHS, replacing it with the Official Administrator position. Janet Davidson was appointed to the new position, receiving remuneration of $580,000 per annum plus benefits.
  • In September 2013, Janet Davidson was appointed Deputy Minister of Health, and Dr. John Cowell was appointed to the position of Official Administrator for a one year term. His remuneration was $580,000 per annum plus $87,000 per annum in lieu of benefits.
  • In September 2014, Dr. Cowell's one-year term expired, and Janet Davidson returned as Official Administrator.
  • Today AHS appointed Dr. Carl Amrhein as Official Administrator, and Janet Davidson moves back to the Deputy Minister of Health position.