Lynn Redford, the sister of Alberta Premier Alison Redford, was the lone Alberta Health Services executive out of 99 who declined to accept a controversial performance bonus related to the firing of the entire AHS board of directors, CBC News has learned.
“As I felt it was appropriate to do so, I advised AHS in March 2013 that I would not accept pay-at-risk for which I was eligible,” Lynn Redford confirmed in an email to CBC News Tuesday. “As such, I did not receive a pay-at-risk allocation.”
- Bonus refused by only 1 of 99 executives at AHS
- Horne accused of misleading public over firing of AHS board
Redford declined any further comment. The amount of her bonus is not known.
Earlier this month, AHS revealed that only one of its 99 executives declined to accept performance pay last year. The bonuses ranged from $12,000 to $108,000 for former chief executive officer Dr. Chris Eagle. The bonuses totalled about $3 million.
“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 the public accounts committee Dec. 4. “I guess I admire that.”
Bonuses caused political maelstrom
The AHS bonuses were at the centre of a political maelstrom in June after Health Minister Fred Horne fired the entire AHS board because they refused to cancel the bonuses.
At the time, Horne claimed some executives wanted to refuse their bonuses and he further claimed the board refused to allow them.
"We know that a number of employees had volunteered to do that a few weeks ago, and the former board denied them that option," Horne told reporters in June.
"So I am giving them that option," he said, adding that, "it disturbed me greatly and I think I had said earlier that the former board had closed that door. And so we are reopening that, and they will be offered the option to refuse the pay-at-risk."
Horne has so far refused to explain the contradiction between his public statements in June and the reality that all but one of the AHS executives accepted their performance bonuses.
Critics said they believed Horne used the bonuses as a pretext to fire the entire AHS board in order to exert political control over the AHS, which is supposed to operate at arm’s length from the minister and the government.
Horne signed off on bonuses
As CBC News first reported, AHS financial statements showed Horne privately signed off on the executive bonuses while he was publicly challenging them.
Legal experts confirmed to CBC News in June that the board could not renege on its “iron-clad” contractual obligations with the AHS executives without incurring potentially massive legal penalties. The experts said Horne had no legal justification for firing the board.
As of July, Lynn Redford was the provincial officer of executive special projects at AHS in Calgary. She had previously been an executive with the Calgary Health Region before the regions were amalgamated.
In November 2012, CBC News reported that Lynn Redford had attended Progressive Conservative party events at public expense and helped organize an annual Tory barbeque while she was a senior executive at the Calgary Health Region.