Town Square

Measure M passes

Original post made on Nov 7, 2012

Many upper level administrators at El Camino Hospital may be dusting off their resumes this morning, while the health care organization's legal team begins working to see how to respond after the passage of the controversial Measure M -- which proposes capping pay at the local health care organization at twice that of the California governor.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 12:47 AM


Posted by Axel Whitehaus, a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Why should a CEO of a "Non-Profit" hospital receive such a salary? I do not think anyone is worth such benefits, especially from a "Non-profit!" Let them, or her, "Eat cake!"
This is a hospital, not a gambling den.

Posted by George, a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm

EGADS....maybe some of the termed out politicos can apply, thereby making more as they creep up the ladder of trough eaters....

Posted by Jerry, a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I suspect this has less to do with El Camino Hospital per se, and more to do with the growing anger and frustration about income inequality across the board. The 1% vs. the 99% is the underlying theme; this is just the most local example of how that issue is expressing itself. I, too, feel annoyed to hear that someone makes more in one year than I might make in 10! I'm sure they work very hard, but so I. And long hours, and weekends, and I doubt my work is only 1/10th as valuable as theirs. But the fight is bigger than just El Camino Hospital, and I fear it will become more bitter and volatile before we get to the other side of it.

Posted by Alex, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm

non-profit status means that the organization benefits society and has different tax status. It doesn't mean that everyone in the organization has taken a vow of poverty, or that you can only attract talent that is either independently wealthy or unable to get a job in the free market. Executives at the Red Cross and other organizations are still executives. This is a remarkably stupid thing for our community to have done to El Camino hospital.

Posted by SteveH, a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I would be interested in the comparison between the LPns/LVNs' pay and the CEO. It used to be 20-30x, and in many corporations, it has grown to several hundreds of times more.

Posted by Concerned citizen, a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm

One thing for sure - ECH better be transparent and tell the taxpayers what they are spending on legal fees to try and make Measure M 'illegal.' Secondly the Board should take this vote as a reprimand for their lack of cost controls and lack of strategic focus on reducing healthcare delivery costs. Thirdly- a hospital CEO is an administrator, as is a facilities' exec. There are plenty of competent execs who can do those jobs for 1/2 the salaries that are currently being paid. Why do you think there has been little/no turnover at the exec level of ECH? The pay scale and job demands are VERY comfortable. Hopefully the new Board directors will pay more attention to cost control.

Posted by Robert, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Former CEO Lee Domanico, who also made close to a million dollars a year while at El Camino Hospital, demanded kickbacks from hospital vendors like Sensitron so they could get business from the hospital. This was approved by the Board, which included defeated Wes Alles. These hospital executives don't stay at El Camino Hospital anyway, so why pay outrageous salaries to them if they are going to leave in a couple of years? Where is the continuity? Let them all leave. El Camino Hospital District will be better off. By the way, El Camino will be paying off Domanico and his wife for life, which may be another 30 plus years! Thanks El Camino Hospital District Board!

Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm

This is so wrong. I cannot believe 50+% of Mountain View voters thought this was a good idea. If this stands I predict the employees mentioned will be moving on rather quickly. Working for a non-profit doesn't mean you shouldn't make a wage inline with that the market pays.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm

So let the high paid execs move on. Perhaps it will not be so easy to find job openings in their salary range in this economy. Many of us who work at other jobs are staying with pay cuts, benefit cuts and less employees to do the jobs. We are just thankful to have a job. I also agree that good talent can be found for less than $700K.

I think the community wanted to send a message to the board - and they have.

Posted by Ken, a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I doubt you can find someone who graduated business school for $349k. When starting salaries in Wall Street firms are much higher, who in their right mind would take over an entire hospital system for less? I grant you that you can get someone intelligent for $349k but not someone with experience running hospitals. So, this would be a very extreme experiment for the community. I hope it works out. But from a practical point of view I think ECH will lose more money due to inefficiency and incompetence than it will save from a punitive salary cap. This cap was, BTW, a reflection of public anger and emotion but not by any means a level headed business decision.

Posted by reader, a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm


Maybe we can get Governor Brown to take the CEO position at El Camino Hospital. $349K is twice his current salary, and he has some experience running a large organization.

Posted by MBA, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 8, 2012 at 6:44 am

Ken, my boy, please stop and think and do some research before you write. ECH didn't need to find a business school graduate to pay them over $700,000! But maybe we could use some second tier business school graduates to rethink hiring and compensation!

"The new hospital chief holds a master's degree in health administration from Chapman University in Orange, Calif.; she obtained her undergraduate degree from U.C. Riverside." Web Link

Note these are 3rd tier schools that would never get a candidate noticed on Wall Street. Let's not let MBAs think they are really more important to society than they are. We already have lawyers to do that.

Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm

How about the Chief Medical Officer, an MD, who makes 450K (or whatever it was in the article). Do you think a cut to $346K is deserved there? If someone randomly cut your pay by 25% would you stay in your job? Do you think physicians earn their salaries?

Posted by Berto, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Free market applies to salaries and comp.--basic US tenet.

Analogy to Obama wanting to tax entrepreneurs who are successful (make $200K /year or more) and therefore motivated/incentivized and create jobs-- with a similar misguided logic.

Lower market paid administrators will cause ECH to be degraded, attract mediocre doctors, and ultimately lower quality medical care for all of us in the community.

Put it in the proper persoectvie:The handful of execs make a very small percentage of ECH labor costs!

How about limiting Facebooks Zuckerbergs billions? Or Google execs?

I am a Los Altos native and laugh at the foolish voters when most household in LA and LA etc are making just as much or way more!

Nurse unions are ALWAYS asking for raises and benefits that far outweigh what we - with higher degrees and more skills and responsiblity are paid across the board. Equitable? Fair I don't think so. Many of us have not had raises or jobs in years and they ask for more every year!

Let's target them instead since Healthcare costs are way to high in part since nurses are overpaid!

Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I don't know where you get your information, Berto. Nurses are by no means overpaid, but I'll wager most of the residents of Los Altos are, judging by the cost of real estate there.

Your Los Altos home can only decline in value. It peaked a while ago.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Lot's of sour grapes & petty jealousy here. "I'm incapable of making a big salary, so no one else should". Very sad... Pathetic really.

Posted by Tony P, a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I chuckled every time one of those "might be illegal" mailers appeared in my mailbox. Although my principal reason for voting for the measure was one of common sense and fairness, I don't like being threatened using scare tactics that threaten with points that are irrelevant. Whether or not it carries the force of law, the measure's resultant passing is the will of the voters, and the BOD would be wise to take it as an advisory, not challenge its legality.

Posted by Izzy, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

You're right Steve. All those Wall Street bankers who walked off with huge bonuses after sinking the economy deserved every penny. And we're all just petty and jealous for thinking something is wrong. CEOs have been making excuses to rob the bank for years. This is no different. Put her in the private sector and let's see who she does.

Posted by Mari, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Nov 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

To even think that we could get quality leaders at a lower salary is incomprehensible. The people supporting this idea are completely uninformed. This is pathetic. Go do your homework.

Posted by ECH Employee, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I just wish they would give me 40 hours a week. Instead I am limited to a few hours a week and no benefits because I'm classified as per diem only. Oh, and my salary would only be a small fraction compared 714000 a year. How about instead of being worried about what people make a year try and solve bigger problems like how do we find fulltime work for people that want to work. The CEO's negotiated out there wages and if ECH is willing to pay it then so be it. Putting salary caps on people that run hospital's this is silly. Why not put your energy into salary caps on sports figures or movie stars by the way all of them make more money then the governor. I'm amazed by people that have no ideal what goes on in a hospital everyday, spend a day doing any job in a hospital and then have an opinion. It takes leadership, strong people, and dedication to make a hospital great. ECH has all of these!!!!!

Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm

@izzy: even if i were to agree with you that wall street & not assinine government meddling & rampant speculation by the general public due to yet anothe asset bubble cause by the Fed's cheap money policies were the cause of the economic meltdown, you are conflating two completely separate issues.

Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Instead of huddling with their lawyers to try to find a way to circumvent the will of the people, the district board should implement it. That's why we hire them. This is a public institution. If the board wants to pay their cronies huge salaries, they should start their own business.

But that's what we get for re-electing fossils like Zoglin. At least, his ally Alles got booted. Just watch the old guard board members join with Zoglin to override our vote.

Posted by Lgto4, a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Why stop with the CEO and his top lieutenants? Why not limit doctors and nurses pay too? I'm sure we all know what is fair is reasonable.

Posted by Kurt, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Dear Ms. Stacey Hendler Ross ("We're thrilled measure M passed..."): Why didn't you try for the CEO position yourself, rather than dictate what the CEO should be paid? Scary mentality in our nation these days!

Posted by Innovate!, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm

There are limited jobs available in the country of this type, so it should be possible to find decent leadership without having to pay through the nose.

You might have to try hard, though....

Posted by Really?, a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THE FRONT LINE FOR CARE AT ANY HOSPITAL IS NURSING...ADMINISTRATORS TOIL AWAY AT THE LABORIOUS TASK OF USING AS FEW NURSES AS POSSIBLE TO GET THE JOB DONE...AT THE FRONT LINE IT IS ALL ABOUT SCRIMP AND SAVE...IT IS WELL PAST TIME FOR A FRESH LOOK AT RUNNING A HOSPITAL...THE "FRONT LINE" IS WHERE THERE IS A NEED FOR THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST... Tomi Ryba was happy to explore the idea of dumping the nursing staff's health insurance in favor of the new "insurance exchanges" and paying the government penality;if it turns out that it is the trend at other local hospitals. The other hospital workers were spared drastic health care reductions by their union...Scrimp and save, scrimp and save but never do they apply it to themselves! In the end it is the patient who suffers...Ask yourself, "Do hospitals only exsist to pay the exorbitant wages of upper level management?". Paracites, there I said it! Layer after layer of paracites.