In the blog article Failing healthcare managers still paid handsomely, I noted that average earnings of the top 10 people at the Fraser Health Authority rose almost $4,500 per month between 2008 and 2011. That represented a cost increase of 21% to FHA, indicating generosity that surprises, considering the difficulties FHA has had in delivering efficient healthcare.
The provincial government is demanding regular employees observe a “net zero reality.” However, for people near the top of the public salary pyramid, there is no such policy.
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority provides additional evidence that no austerity applies to the province’s executive offices. One example involves Chief Operating Officer Mary Ackenhusen who moved from Fraser Health to VCHA in 2007. Between 2008 and 2011, Ackenhusen’s earnings rose from $185,000 to $305,000. In 2009, she got 33%; the following year another 7.5% and in 2011, a further 15.5%.
In 2011, CEO Dr. David Ostrow, after his second full year in charge, scored an 11% increase. CFO Duncan Campbell took home a one year increase of 14% in 2011 (20% over two years). VP Patrick O’Connor’s increase in 2011 was 11% (23% over two years).
After harsh and niggardly treatment of paramedics and the obvious preparations toward imposing zero-increase contracts on teachers, nurses and other public servants, generosity to the province’s highest paid employees demonstrates that increased economic inequality in British Columbia is a philosophical goal of the Liberal government. That is further proven by the gradual elimination of progressive income taxation in favour of higher user fees, greater sales taxes through extension of HST, increased recycling charges, higher medicare fees etc.