Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2011

A state Assembly panel next week will consider launching an audit of a public hospital district in Salinas that awarded its retiring CEO nearly $4 million in retirement payments in addition to his regular $150,000-a-year pension. "I find these excessive benefits unconscionable," said Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), who is proposing the audit. "It certainly appears their priorities are all wrong, to give these million-dollar benefits at the expense of patient care." Alejo said he has several concerns about the leadership of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District. The Times reported last week that the district's board approved a series of supplemental retirement payments to outgoing CEO Samuel Downing. Some experts described the package as one of the more generous public pensions awarded in California.

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