ALBERTA

Alberta Health Services Executive Bonuses: Only 1 Of 99 Employees Turned Down Performance Pay

12/04/2013 09:31 EST
Flickr: dave.cournoyer

Just one of 99 Alberta Health Services employees turned down performance pay last year, meaning a total of $3 million was paid out in pay-at-risk compensation.

According to CBC Edmonton, the amount was revealed at a meeting of the public accounts committee Wednesday.

The name of that employee, however, and the amount of the returned bonus will not be made public, reports Global News, but AHS has confirmed the person was not a senior executive.

The news comes after Health Minister Fred Horne fired the board earlier this year after the board refused to cancel bonuses to senior executives and managers.

Ten members voted to award $3.2 million in bonuses to 99 employees amid wage freezes and employee cuts - despite a request from the government to reconsider.

At the time, Horne said he did not want to meddle in the pay issue, but decided to step in when he learned that some of the executives wanted to forgo the bonus, but were told by the board they had to take it.

“I will make no secret of the fact I am disappointed that more of those senior executives did not see their way clear to avoid receipt of the pay-at-risk component,” Global News quotes Horne as saying during Wednesday’s question period.

“But… the fact is Mr. Speaker that today, because of this premier, there is no more pay-at-risk at Alberta Health Services, there has been significant reform with respect to travel and hospitality and other expenses.”

“Obviously that one particular individual must have felt strongly enough to say 'I don't want to participate,' ” Dr. John Cowell, the new senior administrator of AHS, told CBC News.

I guess I admire that.”

Wildrose critic Heather Forsythe pointed out, however, Horne had said earlier this year several employees wanted to opt out of the bonus, but couldn't.

Where are all the others who told you they desperately wanted to give the money back?,” she said, according to the Calgary Herald, during question period.

Former AHS chairman Stephen Lockwood, who was among those fired by Horne, told the Calgary Herald during discussions with the board about the bonuses, there was "not a consensus as to what to do" and "they weren't clear what they were going to do."

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