According to Wes Alles, a board member and chairman of the compensation committee, the increases, which average 18 percent (not counting Graham's), cover all members of the executive team. Graham's salary and incentive for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008 is $735,765, but tops $903,000 when a benefit package based on 29 percent of his base pay is added.
Hospital officials say the benefit package for each member of the executive team could be compared to a cash fund, from which the costs of various health and retirement benefits are deducted. If money remains after the deductions are taken, it can be invested in a capital accumulation account, they said.
Cecile Currier, vice president of professional, corporate and community health services, received the biggest increase, a 42 percent jump to $254,400 this year.
The jump in compensation this year came as a result of comparison studies done by two consulting firms, Clark Consulting based in Minneapolis and Sullivan, Cotter & Associates with offices in San Francisco, Alles said.
The consultants compared job descriptions, responsibilities and cost of living for executives working at 70 hospitals in California and around the country. Salary ranges starting from the 25th percentile on the lower end up to the 75th percentile were then recommended, Alles said.
Executive compensation guidelines at El Camino Hospital require the board to pay executives around the 50th percentile plus 10 percent, Alles said.
"We don't want any of our executives to be outside of that range of the comparison, the midpoint comparison plus the 10 percent," he said. This range gives the hospital a balance between attracting and retaining talented people and rewarding them for good work, Alles said.
"This is an expensive place to live," he added, but executives want to work at El Camino Hospital because of its reputation and because of a collegial working environment.
"You're working in an environment that has quality people at all levels and the work dynamic is one of trust. It's a collegial environment and you don't find that everywhere," he said.•