Alberta health bosses get big bonuses

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Liberal Opposition says there were no clear guidelines when Alberta Health Services handed out executive bonuses last year that ranged up to $130,000.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Liberal Opposition says there were no clear guidelines when Alberta Health Services handed out executive bonuses last year that ranged up to $130,000.

Liberal health critic Kevin Taft says it makes no sense to hand out six-figure bonuses when you can’t measure if people deserved the extra money.

“How are you giving out the bonuses if you can’t measure the performance,” said Taft, who added there appears to be a sense of entitlement among Alberta’s senior health care executives.

Taft released internal letters Tuesday from Alberta Health Services that say performance measures were difficult to assess when the bonuses were awarded. The money was paid out at the same time that the health provider was tripling its deficit to nearly $300 million.

Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky defended the bonuses.

“The bonus system is part of being competitive to attract the very best people into the most senior positions,” Zwozdesky said in the legislature.

“We have to keep in mind here that stuff that occurred two or three years ago is a matter of history. What’s more important is how we’re going forward.”

Premier Ed Stelmach said changes are in the works on how senior health officials are compensated. The proposal under review by Alberta health Services calls for standardized contracts for senior executives.

“They have said that they’ve undertaken to overhaul the whole process of executive contract negotiations,” he said.

Taft said the small bonus paid out last year was $19,000.

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