http://mv-voice.com/square/print/index.php?i=3&d=1&t=5081


Town Square

Hospital suing to stop salary cap

Original post made on Jan 10, 2013

El Camino Hospital has filed a lawsuit aimed at overturning Measure M -- the voter-approved initiative that caps top executives salaries to no more than twice that of the governor of California.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 10, 2013, 1:38 PM

Comments

Posted by Marty Sedgewick, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm

This story makes me sick. Isn't the hospital's beef with the state for allowing this to become law? Why pick on Lynch? The voters passed this, not him. How can he be wrong for suggesting something become law?

Think of the money they are spending to sue Lynch. Where did that money come from (taxpayers?) and where should it go to (patients? staff?) and instead it is going to lawyers?

Last of all, why is Ryba getting this obscene pay? Does she walk on water? Is she 10x more qualified than any other candidate? Or 100x more valuable to the hospital than a nurse? Is there really no one who could run the hospital for say $150K a year? Really? And if you say "no" what will you say when Ryba is fired after a year on the job and gets a $100,000 severance bonus?


Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Wow. It makes me want to vomit as well. That's pretty ugly. It should be interesting to follow. There's just nothing like a bunch of lawyers coming to the rescue of fat cats and using taxpayer money to do it. And what about the will of the voters? And to sue the interim HR director so as not to have their salaries reduced. But why is ECH suing these people? Shouldn't the six fat cats be doing it? If they are so good at what they do, they should have no problem finding jobs else where.


Posted by Member, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

The reason this makes us sick is because the executives are psychopaths. They have high-capacity magazine lawyers that will say they're only the tool. The random spray of lawsuits is a testament to their sickness.

Web Link

If they would only resign, then some adequate lower-salaried administrator would take their place.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 11, 2013 at 8:12 am

This lawsuit is an obscene tactic implemented by oligarchs who are the financial equivalent of terrorists in an attempt to stifle democracy and dissent. The persons behind this despicable maneuver should be detained indefinitely under the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act, as well-run and affordable hospitals are a necessary component of our national security infrastructure.

Treat every person behind this lawsuit as an enemy combatant against the USA. That's what they are.


Posted by Alex M, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm

The defendants' or their lawyers should read up on California's anti-SLAPP legislation real quick, 'cause it appears a SLAPP suit is exactly what the hospital is now trying to engage in. The hospital could just be digging themselves deeper into a hole with their choice to sue individuals over constitutionally protected activities.


Posted by PH, a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2013 at 8:09 am

This is just another example of the anti-union behavior of ECH and its executives. The people who are working at the hospital, and are union members, are not getting the incredible pay and benefits that the public sees as a common topic in the news so often. Many of them are just getting by like many of the rest of us and aren't getting rich, going on expensive vacations or buying high priced homes, much less being able to save for the future. They have fought to get what they have and the non-union employees have benefited as they are awarded the same benefits by the management to be fair to all. Now we see a vindictive lawsuit against two people who only backed their union's idea to ask the same things of the management as they have imposed on the employees. They want them to work for less yet they won't do the same. Measure M passed by the voters because they see the management of the hospital as an over paid under performing group of individuals that does not provide a transparent and understandable explanation of their business practices. Their current strategy of suing individuals, including their own HR manager, is an amazing example of the arrogance of the modern executive in our country and the fact that the hospital is suing and supplying legal assistance to them is disgusting. It is time for the public to let these people know they are about to ruin our brand new, high tech hospital in their quest to get revenge on the voters for trying to control the spending of their taxes and money spent as patients in a health care system that is almost bringing the countriy's economy to its knees. All anyone wants is for everyone to get a fair deal and it seems that Measure M might send that message while it may not even be implemented as it might not be legal. To go after the little people who work hard and try to improve the hospital for everyone is certainly an example of the way our legal system and ways of approaching a problem have become extremely disfuntional. Wake up ECH and realize that you can still be the best if you are willing to work with your people and stop wasting valuable time and resouces trying to get rid of the union while living the good life and enjoying the things you don't want the employees to have. The average citizen is tired of those who run our businesses and our government not doing a good job of solving our problems and they know we just can't keep on the same path or we will all pay the price as the country goes deeper into the current depression. What's next? Are they going to demand to know who voted yes on M and then sue each of those people as well? This is a frivilous and damaging lawsuit to each of the three defendants and it seems to me that the people being sued might have a cause to sue the hospital and executives as well. All they were trying to do is get something going to help level the playing field between the working people and the management. Our future and our country's depend on a strong economy and the greed that is at the root of it all will be the reason we fail to remain economically healthy. The gap between those who have lots and those who have little is not a sustainable way for us to live. Once again ECH; What are you doing? Why don't you try to do the right things just because it is the right thing to do! Leave the little people alone and come up with some realistic solutions to your problems, and while you are at it, let us know what the solutions are in an easy to understand and openly honest manner. The community and patients pay your check and you have a resonsibility to them to do an excellent job.


Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 12, 2013 at 11:05 am

We have the legal tools to deal with this. Our healthcare system is a vital component of our national security infrastructure. Under the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act, we can circumvent our bought-and-paid-for judicial system and detain these LOOTERS indefinitely without trial.

We have the tools at our disposal. Let's use them.


Posted by Dee, a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

El Camino Hospital was cited by the Santa Clara grand Jury and the agency that oversees special districts (LAFCO) for lack of transparency and accountability. Look for no better example of this than the obscene amounts of executive compensation. Six executives make more than twice the salary of the governor. The CEO gets $695,000 a year and is eligible for a 30% bonus. She received $175,000 relocation fee (where did she relocate from, the moon?), a $147,000 bonus, and a $400,000 interest free loan. Valley Medical Center recently hired a new CEO for $251,535. Lee Domanico, a former CEO at ECH makes $450,000 at Marin General, another district hospital (and his salary is "controversial").

The article states that the hospital employees being sued are "two mid-level hospital employees," I don't think a technician and nursing assistant are quite "mid-level." This is pure intimidation on the part of arrogant management at El Camino Hospital. Perhaps someone will step up and represent the will of the voters and two hospital employees pro bono.


Posted by reader, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 13, 2013 at 12:46 am

If you think that it's worthwhile to organize some kind of action I would be happy and willing to join in. Ideas...

- protesters carrying signs while walking up and down Grant Road in front of the hospital for an hour would very likely make the local evening TV news

- do they have the usual "public comment" item on the agenda for their board meetings? we need to have people there to speak on that. you could fill the room with protesters, or you could have a handful of people there that the board would have to listen to week after week, using up 15 minutes or so of their meeting time.

- if anyone is interested we could set a date and time to meet, such as at a coffee place, to organize.

Yes, "sickening" is an appropriate and ironic description for the behavior of hospital administrators!


Posted by D, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm

The leaders of business and government are not there to solve your problems. That is your job. Jealousy in one of the wealthiest places in the world is fascinating to watch. It will get you no where.


Posted by John Galt, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm


Oh, I forgot. Business and government leaders are there to fatten their purses at the little guy's expense.

Shrugs


Posted by ECH Employee, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm

All of you need to do some reseach on this topic before commenting.

Mr Lynch knew what he was doing. The employees have always been divided on the topic of this Union. SIEU used him the entire time and now they are not helping him????? Just goes to show you their true colors!

If he was going to go after the executives and the hospital directly and not expect any push back... then that is his fualt for not being prepared. The hospital can't sue the voters or SEIU...so duh that means they have to sue the two people on the petition.

Lynch DOES NOT SPEAK FOR THE EMPLOYEES OF ECH! DO YOUR REASEARCH! We can't wait for this union to be gone!


Posted by Mr, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Lynch should have seen this coming. Don't put your neck out for a Union that uses you as a pawn.


Posted by vfree, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm

#ECH Employee, Thank you for your comments, I appreciate a voice of reason out there among the unwashed masses.


Posted by Frank Ski, a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Ok, so Lynch gets used by the Union and is the face of the initiative, but why sue him? It is not his fault the measure passed. It was the will of the people that got the measure passed--when they voted! The Execs lost...game over!

As someone wrote earlier, the County folks obviously thought the measure was properly done to make it onto the ballot. What gives? The Execs should wait the 2-yrs or so, then try to repeal the measure or put in an initiative to set pay increases "Pre-Measure M." That's the way all other stuff is done. I've seen this with gay marriage: it passes...new vote, it fails...it passes...then fails again.

But wait, the Execs would lose pay until then, and their quality of life could be negatively affected. Maybe they'd lose their homes, cars, or simple pleasures such as cable tv....or worse yet, not be able to afford food, Christmas presents, a nice Thanksgiving meal, etc. Oh shoot, isn't that just what happened to SEIU employees when they were made to take concessions???

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it doesn't feel so good, huh?

Jus' sayin'!


Posted by PH, a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm

"ECH employee": You don't speak for the employees at the hospital either. Your opiion is just your's and your's alone (just as is mine). You have a union, for better or worse, because a majority of the employees feel they need it. The hospital has alienated many of its employees with an arrogant attitude that shows a lack of caring about them that is the root of all the union problems. Everyone needs to work together to create an environment that is good for everyone. The employees need to learn to get along with each other and stop blaming each other's union or non-union affiliations for the common problems they are having with the management. If you are a member of the union and aren't happy with their work, you should go to them and try to make positive changes that will benefit everyone. If you aren't a union member you are enjoying the benefits of their work to make your wages and benefits better without having to join or pay dues. In other words: Unions have their good and bad, but generally make the working person's life better, either directly by being a member or just by their presence in the workplace. Many companies pay better and offer better benefits just to not deal with union employees. Apparently ECH does not want to give a better deal to their employees either way. Suing employees because they don't like to hear what the voters have been trying to tell them is not in anyone's best interest and if any person out there has the means to engage in a law suit against their employer over an exercise of free speech and citizen's rights then they must have a lot more money to waste than ECH does. Let's all face the facts that this whole ugly mess boils down to the management and union not getting along and that the hospital has to be forced to the table by the court system because they refuse to bargain in good faith. If people have something to say they should probably go to the board meetings and speak up, but be ready for a good dose of arrogance as the board and its executives seem to think they are the only ones that matter. I find it incredible to sue employees who support their union and only spoke up or helped get a measure on the ballot. Instead they should be suing the union who's idea it was or just going through the process of finding out if the measure is even legal. I feel they are showing a vindictive and vengeful attitude in a race to squash the union's and the public's opinion of them and it seems that they are trying to say that if you speak up you will made sorry for it. It shows, once again, that those running the companies don't value their employees in this country and just because it is worse in other places, it doesn't have to be here. People have a right to speak their opinion and should have a right to good wages and benefits. This huge difference in the wages of the employees and management will certainly not be sustainable in the future. Why can't they pay employees a little more and executives a little less? Let the little people fulfill their dreams as well as those who've got it all. I don't think it's too much to ask.


Posted by Unwashed masses, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm

The question of limiting executive pay was answered by an election, voted on by we, the unwashed masses, not by ECH employees. Measure M passed despite overwhelming spending to defeat it. I'm still keeping my house warm, burning the pile of No on M mailers.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Aaand here we have yet another example of the "if we want it we will get it no matter what the voters think" ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY of the 2%-ers.

What a bunch of whiney clowns we have here.

How about we convert all those hospital board of director positons to VOLUNTEER POSITIONS... no salaries just kindly community service from the already wealthy folks who routinely seek them.

Then their salaries could go toward patient care costs.


Posted by Kary Lynch, a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Thank you to those who have voiced support. I'll reply briefly to some of your comments. First, I have legal representation; several lawyers offered their services. I don't feel "used" or "a pawn" in regards to union involvement, and as for sticking my neck out, I have no regrets, I will continue to speak my mind and stand up for what I believe is right and I have never passed myself off as someone who speaks for the employees of ECH.

Is Measure M legal? I don't know, I'm not a lawyer. I expected the courts to decide this issue; I am surprised that the hospital would take what I consider a cheap shot by asking me to pay their legal fees. I believe that it violates my right of free expression.

I believe that executive salaries are excessive and that the elected board of directors have not made good decisions in this regard and have made other governance errors, but neither the board members nor the executives themselves are bad people (and board members do serve without pay). The board members are elected and I encourage everyone to be familiar with the issues (The League of Women Voters sponsored a candidates forum this previous election and all candidates for the board spoke).

Thank you Dee for pointing out that I am not a "mid-level" employee, at least in regards to pay, and for pointing out that contrary to the hospital's protestations, qualified people can be found to fill executive positions for less pay. The hospital board meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30. Public comments are welcome. The next board meeting is in February 13. Lol John Galt.

I recommend the Local Agency Formation Commission (LFCO) web site for those who wish to understand how this district hospital is governed.

Web Link


Kary Lynch


Posted by PH, a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Thanks Kary! Hang tough! I have some information at hand that others may not know or understand about your situation. I applaude your efforts and wish you well as I am a steward in another union local and know how these things can happen. Good luck! I'll be keeping an eye on this as it develops.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

I didn't see a single "Yes on M" sign before the election and yet the measure passed handily. It is clear that Mountain View voters would like to see fiscal common sense prevail with regard to executive pay at this "non-profit" hospital and the board members should be taking note. Instead, ECH has become the neighborhood bully. Good luck to those brave souls who placed their heads on the block for the benefit of the community-at-large.


Posted by Dan W., a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Ouch! Sounds like you've been SLAPPed! Try contacting the California Anti-SLAPP Project in Berkeley: www.casp.net

The California Anti-SLAPP Project (CASP) helps individuals, organizations and businesses defend themselves against SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
CASP is proud to have led the fight for passage of the anti-SLAPP law law two decades ago to protect, under state law, the First Amendment rights of petition and speech.


Posted by Alex M, a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

Dan W: I mentioned the anti-SLAPP law early on in this series of responses. Frankly I am surprised that nobody else until you can see the obvious. I hope Kary's attorney can see the obvious too.

California is unique I think, in that when you file an anti-SLAPP motion, that simple act stops all discovery. This serves to reduce the cost of litigation to the defendant. To beat the motion, the hospital must prove that they aren't being vexatious, and that their their case has legal merit PRIOR to discovery.


Posted by Dan W., a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Alex M: You da man! It was because of your post I went online and discovered the California Anti-SLAPP Project! Mr. Lynch is aware of SLAPP. Hopefully he'll be aware of CASP soon!


Posted by Frank Ski, a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Kary,

Thx 4 posting! :) You seem 2b in good spirits...good 4 u. And thx 4 the information u gave regarding meetings and finding out more about how ECH runs.

As I alluded to in my earlier post--as many others did--Measure M was passed by the people! A lot of us seem to be in agreement that Executive pay should be decreased. And personally, I believe that the concessions SEIU (and the Nurses Union too, right) was just a modern times 'Rob Peter to pay Paul' scenario. Quite frankly, this has been happening all over the country. :(

Anyway, hang in there. I think it's wrong what they are doing (trying to do) 2 u. I read the posting about SLAPP...and it sounds like a good defense. I wish u and your lawyers the best of luck.

Frank Ski


Posted by Capitalist , a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm


The "Voice" position on this issue, and the moronic editorial of January 18th, should also make anyone sick. How about this comment by the moron who wrote it: "There is a world of difference between highly paid hospital executives like Ryba and someone with far less experience who would work for half that price" (I suppose the inexperienced candidate who would take a paltry half a million dollars total package is not "highly paid", although, wait, isn't it still in the top 1% nationally? Higher than almost all Silcon Valley executives, not counting stock options that depend entirely on real success?) Now consider this from the same "Voice" of September 11th 2011: "More than 50 qualified candidates from all around the country were found, board member Patty Einarson wrote in an email to the Voice. "The decision was challenging, as there were so many strong candidates to choose from," Einarson wrote." Well, I am a silicon valley venture-capital backed entrepreneur who has spent a lifetime competing against foreign competition. One thing I know is if you have 50 qualified candidates for a position, the comment (and in fact the whole editorial supporting this pay level) in the Voice editorial is written by, well, there is no other word, a moron, who knows nothing of really running a business, or in fact what capitalism really is. The Voice should understand it wasn't just Union voting against this corruption, it was capitalists like me.


Posted by Vilma, a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm

The person to be SUED is the Union not Lynh and Laura. Wake up EL Camino, What are you doing???? They just a small guys. I don't know the Union politics between El Camino.


Posted by Former Employee, a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

There's no question that ECH management does not want M to stand because it interferes with their free exercise on the job, and might cap salaries.

But there's no getting around the fact that M would require ECH to breach existing contracts, and thereby goes agains state law. So if we believe in the rule of law, we should all be against M being allowed to stand.

Why are two employees being sued? Because their names were on the petition getting the initiative going. Co-sign a loan, you get sued if the other party defaults. Sign a libelous letter to the editor, you get sued. Sign a petition for a ballot measure that you should know will not be upheld, just to get some leverage in union negotiations, consider that you might get sued. Lesson: be careful what you sign.