Health Minister Fred Horne is vowing that the era of high severance payments for departing Alberta Health Services executives is over.
Earlier this week, more six- and seven-figure payouts were revealed in the AHS 2013-14 annual report. But Horne says the system has changed since then.
"That was the cost of right-sizing the system and I'm very comfortable now that we've got clear salary range,” he said. “Albertans know what to expect, there's no hidden payments to anyone."
The report shows that David Megran, former chief medical health officer of clinical operations, received $1.73 million in severance and lump sum pension payments.
Bill Trafford, former acting chief transformation officer, was paid $391,000 in severance and will receive monthly pension payments of $11,000 over ten years.
Horne told reporters that the payouts were a leftover from the days of the regional health authorities which were collapsed in 2008 to form Alberta Health Services.
However, at least one example is more recent.
Duncan Campbell was paid his entire annual salary of $425,000 even though he served as acting CEO of Alberta Health Services for one month last fall and then took a five-month leave of absence.
Campbell left AHS to move to British Columbia but now has a $500,000 contract to do a study for his old employer.
"Obviously there were some provisions that in that contract that had to be honoured, and they chose to deal with it in that in a different way than just by paying out straight severance,” Horne said.
NDP health critic David Eggen says the contracts may be modified, but there's no indication lavish AHS compensation has ended.
“It's a pattern that's been going on for years now,” he said.
“It seems like these executives write each other very generous contracts and the cycle hasn't been broken yet. It's very disappointing.”
Horne says the compensation system has been changed to be more transparent and better reflect public service salaries.