Hospital exec pay cap goes to the ballot

Voters will be able to decide if the executive pay at El Camino Hospital should be capped. The El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors on Tuesday voted 4-0 to put the question on the Nov. 6 ballot, the Daily News reported.

At the urging of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, the initiative seeks to limit the executive pay of the California nonprofit hospital, particularly after reports revealed that former CEO Kenneth Graham earned more than $1 million in total compensation, although El Camino disputed that figure.

The pay cap, if enacted, would limit the hospital executive compensation to no more than twice the governor's pay. Gov. Jerry Brown will make $165,000 in December, according to Sullivan Cotter and Associates, the Daily News noted. Thereby, the initiative would set a maximum salary and compensation of $330,000.

The El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors approved placement of an initiative on the ballot for the November election, but the hospital also worries about the consequences if voters support the limited exec pay. The hospital district found that it would force current leadership to resign and leave the hospital in the hands of a less experienced team.

"It's important for district residents to understand that no tax dollars go to employee salaries, which are instead funded by the hospital's operations," John Zoglin, chairman of the El Camino Hospital District Board, said in a statement Wednesday. "Furthermore, the hospital board takes a thoughtful approach to executive compensation to ensure that our employees are compensated fairly, in line with the market and in a way that is transparent to the public. Having a strong management team is an essential part of running a hospital that serves the needs of District residents."

The union remains confident that voters will support the pay cap.

"We'll win this election," union steward Kary Lynch told the Daily News. "This is an issue that resonates with the public."

For more information:
- see the hospital district statement
- read the Daily News article

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