Ten days ago – as reported last week in this space – we contacted Cathy Fox, communications and public relations specialist at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, seeking answers to the following questions.
Why doesn’t vice-president/chief of staff Nancy Whitmore’s salary appear on annual public sector salary disclosures?
And, prior his arrival at STEGH, did vice-president of corporate services Malcolm Hopkins work outside of health care in British Columbia?
We received the following detailed answer to the first query directly from hospital CEO Paul Collins.
“In 2008, STEGH undertook a recruitment process to replace the previous physician in the role of VP Medical Affairs/Chief of Staff. The successful candidate was Dr. Nancy Whitmore, the first from outside of STEGH. Dr. Whitmore had been a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in St. Thomas in the early 1990’s before relocating to Stratford.”
As to the key question of compensation, Collins continues “A compensation review was undertaken and a stipend of $220k per year, for a three-year term was set from December 1, 2008 to April 1, 2012 (slightly longer than three years as the previous incumbent chose to leave the role prior to the end of term).
“Since Dr. Whitmore was not an employee of the hospital (similar arrangement to previous incumbents in the role), her stipend was not required to be publicly reported.”
At the expiration of her contract last year, Whitmore expressed a desire to remain with the hospital, as Collins explains.
“The STEGH Board of Governors had evaluated Dr. Whitmore’s performance highly, and supported Dr. Whitmore’s continued relationship with STEGH. Given the planned expansion of the VP Medical Affairs role (now complete) to include direct
elements of patient care delivery management, Dr. Whitmore joined STEGH as an employee.
“Her employment compensation was based on comparative evaluation from other similar hospitals, conducted independently by a firm specializing in healthcare compensation. As a result, commencing April 1, 2012 her salary for the VP Medical Affairs role is $230,500 per year. The stipend she receives for continuing to provide Chief of Staff services to STEGH is
set at $75k per year.”
So, Whitmore will appear on the 2012 Sunshine List at $164,009.53, as the salary disclosure is based on the calendar year and not the fiscal year.
As to vice-president of corporate services, Malcolm Hopkins, he replied directly to us in the form of an email with a comprehensive synopsis of past employment and personal interests and activities that, without a doubt, are quite admirable.
However, as to our specific question regarding employment in B.C, prior to coming to St. Thomas, Hopkins provided the following details of his tenure with The Kerkhoff Group. You can read his entire response in the comments section of the bloghere.
“A fascinating and often controversial B.C. construction, property development and building products manufacturing group of companies,” writes Hopkins.
“A little more exciting stuff – the company went spectacularly bankrupt around 1994 primarily due to being over extended in one of B.C.’s property cycles. Contrary to advice from the Company, the unwise decision by a group of investors in a Vancouver Island project, delayed by a city imposed moratorium, was to pursue litigation – as a result the investors got precious little.
“Had they waited as advised, they would have won out well – as the subsequent B.C. property boom has shown,” Hopkins continues. This unhappiness inevitably led to investigations by the B.C. Securities commission …. and yes, I was censored and agreed to a penalty being imposed on me for my role as a Director of that particular company since I did not have the financial means to defend myself in a 10 day hearing by the Commission – costs of the hearing estimated at over $100k would have been for my account.
A tough lesson on the perils of joint and several liability for the actions of fellow directors and a very difficult period in my life,” Hopkins concludes.
Hopkins was ordered to pay $10,000 and was issued with a five-year director/officer ban with conditions for failure to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a director.
We appreciate Hopkins being so forthright in his response and we await word from Fox as to when we can speak with an administrator to ascertain the hiring process that brought him to the hospital.
THE TOXIC ENVIRONMENT REMAINS
It’s been 10 years since the findings of the McCarthy Tetrault report were presented to the council of the day. The report, presented to council in November, 2003, was prepared by Chris White from the law firm of McCarthy Tetrault, as authorized by council on Sept. 22 of that year.
The findings of the report were based on individual two-hour interviews conducted with administrative staff, department heads and council members.
The document described the interaction between council and senior staff as “troubled” and “problematic” and alludes to the seriousness of a “power struggle” between then city administrator Roy Main and treasurer at the time, Ron Cutway.
At the time, Cutway had been suspended with pay pending the results of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.
Well, a decade later and it appears the poisonous environment continues at city hall. More specifically in the very same treasury department.
This corner has learned a third party was retained to investigate claims of verbal harassment within the treasury department that has resulted in at least one department member now absent from work on stress leave.
A call to CAO Wendell Graves to determine the findings of the report and possible disciplinary action involving the department head, Bill Day, revealed little other than council-approved human resource policies are in place that govern all of the activities at city hall.
“Obviously situations do arise and we turn to our policies and that was done in a situation,” explained Graves.
“I won’t talk about any specifics or individuals, I’m bound not to do that. Anything we would do would be in accordance with the policies we have in place. We have the highest regard for our employees.”
Does this regard apply to the individual or individuals currently absent from work on stress leave?
And will there be financial repercussions initiated by any of the parties involved?
Shouldn’t the city be assuming a lead role when it comes to employee relations in the workplace or has nothing been gleaned from the 10-year-old McCarthy Tetrault report?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“This project wherever it ends up should not proceed until the private funding portion of the project has reached it’s obligation in order that the tax payer is not further burdened.”
Reader Jim Foster responds to a story in Tuesday’s Times-Journal on the Timken Centre as a preferred location for the city’s proposed $600,000 skateboard park.
City Scope appears Saturday (except for today, of course) in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to email@example.com.Follow @ianscityscope