New NSHA compensation numbers

As is tradition with Nova Scotia’s Public Sector Compensation Disclosure, the latest pay figures for bureaucrats are published in the middle of summer when it’s figured no one is paying attention. It’s the half-hearted, insincere attempt to comply with “accountability and transparency in the use of public funds”.

If true accountability and transparency were the goal, this government wouldn’t have weakened the NDP regulations, which required the name, title and compensation for each of those in the $100,000 club be published. Including the titles of those compensated allows the public to judge whether bureaucracies have become bloated. Or in the case of Registered Nurses if they are being overworked to the point of endangering their health or shortening their career.

Take the Nova Scotia Health Authority. When we had 10 separate authorities most complied with the requirement to list the job title or occupation of those on the list. Since the merger of nine authorities into one, those details have disappeared. One of the motivations for the merged health authority was to streamline the bureaucracy and decision-making process, and to reduce the number of executives and redirect those savings to front-line care. That goal has been bastardized by the very people who promoted it. Shame on them.

Looking at the NSHA compensation numbers shows that some executives are well ahead of inflation. This year the NSHA executive have all benefitted from an 8 percent increase in income. One had a 41 percent increase in pay. Since the NSHA’s formation in 2015, several executives have seen incomes soar by $70,000-to-$115,000 a year.

In theory that might suggest recognition of greater responsibilities, but the actions of some suggest their workload isn’t affected. Or not at least as much as their bank balance is. The question for the health unions and public is if this establishes the precedent for raises in the next round of contract negotiations.

NSHA CEO Janet Knox’s compensation for 2017-18 was $369,013  vs $352,478 in 2016-17. That’s a $317-a-week raise.

VP Medicine Dr. Lynne Harrgan received $326,941 in 2017-18 vs $302,957 the previous year. A $461-a-week raise.

For the vice presidents: Tim Guest, Patricia Cochrane and Carmelle d’Entremont received $223,006 over $206,657 last year. (A $314-a-week increase.) Paula Bond is up  $584-a-week to $250,672 from $232,321. Allan Horsburgh is at $234,329 up from $217,119 ($330 a week more) and Lindsay Peach has risen to  $228,881 from $212,419 ($316 a week more). Colin Stevenson’s income jumped 41 percent ($1,172 a week) to $208,418 from $147,433. The lack of detail doesn’t say if this represents a much greater area of responsibility or if his previous year wasn’t a full 12 months. Or if he received a bonus from the CEO.

Fees for some doctors, who are paid like a factory worker on a per piece/patient service basis (unless the patient only needs a prescription top up, which is one of many uncompensated services doctors are expected to provide) rose 5.6 or 10 percent. Unlike NSHA executives whose compensation is 100 percent theirs and who have offices, technology and support staff provided by the taxpayer, enjoy tax-payer-subsidized lunches, work regular hours, receive paid holidays and pension contributions, doctors pay 30 to 50 percent of their gross income to cover practice costs. Even with these increased fees, Nova Scotian physicians remain the lowest paid in Canada.

To illustrate how well the NSHA executives did this year, we can look at other compensation reports. One person at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the head of Nova Scotia Business Inc. received 4 percent raises. The CEO of Trade Centre Ltd. and the three executives at the Halifax Dartmouth Bridge Commission received a .5 percent pay increase.

The list of public disclosure reports can be found here:

https://www.novascotia.ca/finance/en/home/publications/PSCD/default.aspx

You judge value for money. If you have issues, this site lists how to contact various MLAs, Ministers and Premier.

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