District passes cap on hospital CEO pay

El Camino Hospital's CEO limited to $348,000
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The CEO of El Camino Hospital could be getting a big pay cut, as a ballot measure passed this week to cap hospital executive pay at twice that of the governor's salary.

With a simple majority of 51.91 percent in favor of Measure M, the California hospital district voted to limit the salary of El Camino's CEO to $347,974--twice that of Gov. Jerry Brown's annual salary of $173,987, Mountain View Voice reported. The passed measure means CEO Tomi Ryba's 2013 proposed salary of $714,460 would get cut in half.

The measure affects about 10 people at the hospital, including executives, managers and administrators, hospital spokeswoman Chris Ernst told The Daily News.

The hospital, which has spent nearly $149,000 to defeat the measure, still questions if Measure M is even legal, asking whether a hospital district is subject to a voter-approved initiative, particularly one that arbitrarily links hospital executive compensation to the governor's pay rather to its peer hospitals, it said.

"A lot money was spent to defeat Measure M, but the public has spoken," new board member Julia Miller told Los Altos Patch.

The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West pushed the measure in response to tense negotiations between the union and hospital administrators. A union steward suggested it was a political maneuver for labor contract talks.

"Truthfully, the measure was initially proposed as a bargaining chip in the negotiating process," psychiatric technician Kary Lynch told The Daily News. "We picked salaries because it was something that resonated with the voters."

The salary reductions could mean the top hospital administrators might begin looking for work elsewhere, Ernst told Mountain View Voice.  

For more information:
- here's Measure M on Smart Voter
- read the Daily News article
- check out the Los Altos Patch article
- see the Mountain View Voice article

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