Manager pay raises topple health authority CEO

PHSA board wasn't told of wage hikes contravening government-ordered freeze

Health Minister Terry Lake.

Lynda Cranston has resigned as president and CEO of the Provincial Health Services Authority after management pay raises were approved without the board’s consent or knowledge.

The three per cent wage hikes for 118 managers at PHSA in late May contravened a provincial government order last fall to freeze public sector management salaries.

The PHSA runs B.C. Children’s Hospital, B.C. Women’s Hospital, the B.C. Cancer Agency and various other specialty or provincial services, such as the B.C. Ambulance Service, B.C. Transplant, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, and B.C. Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Carl Roy has been named acting president and CEO.

Cranston will stay on to oversee transition projects until her July 31 retirement, upon which she will get no severance pay.

The PHSA board is reviewing its legal options to reverse the pay hikes, which add $621,000 in annual payroll costs to the authority’s $2.5-billion budget.

“I was disappointed to learn that the wage policy of government was not followed,” Health Minister Terry Lake said.

“All heath authorities have been reminded that there cannot be any variance from the policy in place.”

Lake said finite health dollars go to front-line care during difficult economic times.

PHSA board chair Wynne Powell said the board will implement measures to ensure the violation is never repeated.

“The PHSA Board has always prided itself on providing high quality care while ensuring public funds are expended in the most efficient and appropriate manner,” Powell said.

Cranston was PHSA’s first and only CEO and Powell said she “worked tirelessly to help hshape PHSA into the high quality, world-class health organization that it is today.”