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Severance raised hospital chief’s pay to $7.7M

NorthJersey.com/Bergen County Record, December 27, 2010

John P. Ferguson received a severance package of more than $5 million when he was forced out as president of Hackensack University Medical Center last year, bringing his total compensation for 2009 to $7.7 million, according to recent federal tax filings. His senior vice president for operations, Doreen Santora, received $2.6 million — including more than $1.5 million in severance — when she left in the executive reshuffling that followed, the documents show. In all, seven top executives at the non-profit hospital each received more than $1 million in total compensation in 2009, up from five the year before. The compensation packages came in a year in which tax filings show the 775-bed medical center employed 317 fewer staff and Moody's Investors Service downgraded its credit rating to Baa1, leading to higher interest payments when new debt is issued. Two law firms also recommended a top-to-bottom overhaul of governance, including compensation practices, after the federal conviction of a state senator who was a paid consultant to the hospital.