$2.7 million paid out to former David Thompson Health Region staff

A total of $2.7 million was handed out to pay executive pensions and severances in the former David Thompson Health Region in 2009 after Alberta’s health superboard was created a year earlier.

A total of $2.7 million was handed out to pay executive pensions and severances in the former David Thompson Health Region in 2009 after Alberta’s health superboard was created a year earlier.

Alberta Health Services spokeswoman Heather Kipling of Red Deer provided a document via email to show how much was paid to former executives and chairs of former regional health authorities.

“It doesn’t provide a breakdown for individuals, that’s not being provided at this time,” said Kipling.

A large bulk of that $2.7 million includes the $893,000 that former DTHR president John Vogelzang received.

That total included $700,000, equal to his salary for two years, plus $240,000 for benefits and allowances for two years, plus a $73,000 retirement bonus.

Vogelzang released the information to the Advocate in October 2008. Vogelzang and eight other health region CEOs saw their jobs eliminated after Alberta Health created a provincial superboard and dismantled regional health boards in May 2008.

The David Thompson Health Region included Red Deer, Ponoka, Olds, Three Hills and Rocky Mountain House. The region is now called Central Zone.

Red Deer North MLA Mary-Anne Jablonski was unavailable for comment due to family commitments on Thursday. Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas was unavailable for comment as well.

Kerry Towle, Wildrose MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, said that breakdown of the $2.7 million should be released to the public.

“I don’t think it’s the position of the government not to tell taxpayers where this $2.7 million was allotted,” said Towle. “If it was paid out, then taxpayers have the right to know how it was allotted and who it was paid to.”

The nine health authorities across Alberta and three boards — Alberta Cancer Board, Alberta Mental Health Board and Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission — received $80 million in funding from Alberta Health and Wellness for costs of transitioning to Alberta Health Services.

These costs include more than $21.3 million handed out for retirement plans given to health executives. Another $22.58 million was given into executive severance pay.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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