El Camino Hospital's service-workers union says it has exceeded the number of signatures needed to get an initiative on the November ballot that seeks to put a limit on the salaries of its top administrators.
The union has collected 15,305 signatures from people living within the boundaries of the El Camino Hospital District -- far more than the 9,100 names required to get on the ballot this fall -- since it began its effort in January, said a representative from the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers. According to the union's research, about 97,284 voters living within the boundaries of the El Camino cast ballots in the last general election.
"It's a good sign," said Carlyn Foster, a spokeswoman with the union. She said it is a sign residents of the district agree that a limit should be placed on how much El Camino, which accepts taxpayer money, can pay its executives.
The district includes the cities of Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, a majority of Sunnyvale and a small portion of Cupertino, as well as some nearby unincorporated areas.
The initiative proposes that no executive at the hospital or within the hospital district could be paid more than twice the salary of California's governor. Gov. Jerry Brown's current salary is $173,987 -- a reduction in the allowed governor's salary from 2007, which was $212,179.
Tomi Ryba, the El Camino Hospital's recently hired CEO is being paid $695,000 annually -- nearly double what she would be allowed to make if the proposed legislation were to go into effect today.
According to Chris Ernst, a hospital spokeswoman, one petitioner who approached her outside of the Nob Hill market off of Grant Road in Mountain View told her that the administrators from the hospital were being paid exorbitant salaries using money collected from taxpayers living within the El Camino Hospital District. That is, she said, a "completely inaccurate and misleading" statement.
The hospital will hold two open community meetings on March 19 and March 21 -- at the hospital's Los Gatos and Mountain View campuses, respectively. The meetings are intended to clarify what the hospital does with the money it collects from the district, which, Ernst said, includes community projects. Also at the meeting, Ernst said, the hospital will explain its recent decision to expand the board of directors.