[Dec. 17, 2015] SAN DIEGO – Public outrage over Tri-City Medical Center’s use of taxpayer funds has led healthcare workers to file a ballot initiative for November 2016 that would limit the compensation of the public hospital’s executives to $250,000 a year and require the salaries of the 10-highest paid administrators be published annually on the hospital district’s website.
If passed, the initiative would reduce the medical center’s costs while still allowing Tri-City to attract top executive talent. Currently, Tri-City CEO Tim Moran receives more in base pay than all but five of the 37 public healthcare districts in California.
Tri-City workers, for example, point to Grossmont Healthcare District in La Mesa, Calif., which operates more beds than Tri-City (536 versus 397) and yet pays its CEO considerably less. According to public records from 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, the Grossmont CEO received base pay of $206,000, compared to $525,000 for Moran.
“It’s long overdue for Tri-City Medical Center to be accountable to taxpayers in the region,” said Charles Harris, a transportation driver at Tri-City Medical Center. “For years, the top executives at this hospital have given themselves bloated salaries and benefits well beyond what’s reasonable at a public healthcare district.”
Moran and the next four-highest paid Tri-City executives receive a combined $1.75 million a year in salary alone, with total compensation including fringe benefits exceeding $2 million. In addition, the Chief Financial Officer received $50,000 toward the purchase of a home and three executives receive $12,000 each year in car allowance. Under the ballot measure, the limit on executive compensation would be adjusted annually for inflation.
The initiative needs approximately 14,000 voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, which must be submitted to the San Diego County Registrar within 180 days.
A recent survey of 500 likely voters who live in the Tri-City Healthcare District, which includes Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista, shows 83 percent of respondents support the ballot measure.
More than 800 employees at Tri-City Medical Center are members of SEIU-UHW. In contrast to the way it treats executives, Tri-City Medical Center has proposed in bargaining with the union to contract out up to 460 jobs, something workers say would destabilize the hospital, create high turnover, harm patient care and eliminate good-paying jobs in the community.