Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority CEO cashes in as Director of Shell Canada for $95,000 on top of $360,000 salary

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday January 30, 2007

Perks of the health trade


We dare not allow politicians to establish the principle that senior civil servants can be removed for incompetence. We could lose dozens of our chaps. Hundreds maybe. Even thousands.

- Sir Arnold, Yes Prime Minister

What B.C. public service job pays you $360,000 a year, lets you sit on a corporate board of directors for another $95,000 and allows you to miss your budget targets by $40 million while disrupting the lives of hundreds of taxpayers?

Meet Ida Goodreau, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

One might think that being CEO of B.C.'s biggest health region, charged with balancing an annual budget of $2.4 billion, would be enough work.

But Goodreau is also a director of Shell Canada, the gasoline company. Goodreau got a whopping $95,750 from Shell Canada for attending board and committee meetings in 2005 and probably a similar amount in 2006 - financial statements haven't yet been released.

Goodreau was also a director of Terasen Gas until December 2005, earning a $25,000 retainer, $1,500 for each of up to 11 board and committee meetings, and $3,000 for committee membership.

It was Goodreau who frantically explained last week why she closed operating rooms and cancelled patient surgeries to deal with Vancouver Coastal's projected $40-million shortfall.

But the cancellations were reversed after B.C. Liberal Health Minister George Abbott couldn't take the heat for his government's underfunding of the region.

In any ordinary government one might expect that a moonlighting top executive paid a king's ransom who can't balance the budget and embarrasses her employer would be shown the door.

But not in B.C. Instead Abbott tried to shift the blame by firing the rookie chair of Vancouver Coastal, Trevor Johnstone, when the responsibility clearly lies elsewhere.

Holding a part-time board chair accountable for Vancouver Coastal's fiscal follies is as ludicrous as letting your CEO jet off to Shell Canada meetings in Calgary up to 22 times a year.

Then neighbouring Fraser Health Region chair Keith Purchase quit because of government under-funding and the firing of Johnstone.

The new Vancouver Coastal chair, former Teck Cominco boss David Thompson, has likely been hired to get rid of Goodreau. Abbott tellingly informed media it's not the province which fires health authority CEOs but their boards and chairs.

So Goodreau may pay the price for failures that really should be blamed on the provincial government's continued underfunding and poor health-care management.

But Goodreau no doubt stands to cash in with a big severance package if terminated. And thanks to being allowed to sit as a Shell Canada director, Goodreau holds shares and deferred share units last evaluated at $330,000 to cushion any fall.

Nice work if you can get it.


Anonymous said...

Gordon never takes the blame for anything, nor does his Flunky, Abbott. The doctors, nurses and other staff are run off their feet.On TV this evening we saw that patients are ending up in shower rooms, nurse rest areas and hall ways. Abbott tells us they have the beds, its shortage of staff. well George if so much cash wasn't gong to the assorted health authorities as salaries maybe we could hire a few more nurses and doctors.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a Campbell or Abbott issue.

What the real issue is, is the continuing arrogance of two hospitals under the Coast Health umbrella. Hospitals all over the Province have had to manage a budget – except for two, Vancouver General and St. Pauls. Both of these hospitals think that they know how to manage the health care system better than anyone else. If they spend more money; no problem for them, some one else should be cut.

First, the $40 million deficit is actually $63 million.( Check into this, it’s actually over 50% higher than what’s reported) The entire $63 million is from VGH and St. Pauls.

Secondly, both Keith Purchase and Trevor Johnston are gone but they should have been fired. I’m glad their gone. They wouldn’t hold the line on budgeting and they couldn’t or wouldn’t make the decisions that were necessary. Ida Goodreau should follow. The problem with the entire system is no one wants to deal with the real issues of budgeting. We should cancel the entire failed health authority system and set up one super bureaucrat who runs the entire system with individual CEO’s at each hospital. Every hospital should be judged one against the other, to determine efficiencies and implement them across the system.

What do we get right now – if a smaller hospital comes up with an idea to save money the big two in Vancouver won’t even listen, since they believe they know better, so why should they listen. Budgets are for the smaller hospitals, not for the important hospitals like VGH or St. Pauls. Arrogance!

Anonymous said...

...And the saga continues at VCH. Earlier this year Ida Goodreau hires her new CFO, Mr. Duncan Campbell. IBM got rid of Mr. Campbell as an incompetent and unreliable person and he is now going to manage one of the largest budgets in the province. Well done Ida Goodreau, well done!

Anonymous said...

I used to work with Duncan Campbell at Norske. I could not belive he is a new CFO at VCH so I've checked at VCH's web site. Sure enough it's the same person. This is unbeliveable. What is Ida Goodreau thinking?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Campbell's salary is $231K. If you live in this province you might ask yourself how much have you contributed to it? Shame on you Ida Goodreau!

Anonymous said...

Anne Boyle fired him from IBM so she knows all details. How is Duncan Campbell even considered for this role? This is unreal.

Anonymous said...

I've worked with Duncan Campbell and he is actually the hardest working person I have met. He doesn't stop unitl its done. From what I have heard, Camapbell has done a perfect job as CFO.