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AHS financials peppered with perks and benefits for bureaucrats: Forsyth

CALGARY, AB (July 4, 2013): The 2012-2013 Alberta Health and Wellness annual report continues to show a health system plagued by lavish, taxpayer-funded entitlements for senior bureaucrats at a time when front-line services are being cut, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. 

The AHS financial section of the report confirms that Alberta taxpayers paid out $637,000 in bonuses for 11 Superboard executives, including a $108,000 bonus for Chief Executive Officer Dr. Chris Eagle. The $637,000 is part of the $3.2-million overall pay-at-risk package for 99 Superboard executives.  This indicates that none of the top-level executives refused their bonuses as Health Minister Fred Horne suggested earlier this week, Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said. However, as Horne personally signed off of the report on June 19 (page 2), he would have already known that no executive refused their bonus when he asked them to do so, Forsyth adds.  “This report proves that Alberta taxpayers are still being billed for over-the-top perks and benefits for senior health bureaucrats while services are being slashed across the board,” Forsyth said. “What’s more, Minister Horne continues to mislead Albertans about executive bonuses that he knew couldn’t be withheld and also knew wouldn’t be refused. Albertans just can’t trust this government to deliver quality health care without lining the pockets of their bureaucrat buddies.”  The report also shows that disgraced former AHS Chief Financial Officer Allaudin Merali, fired last August after expensing nearly $346,000 for things like personal butlers and car phones, is now receiving a pension from Alberta taxpayers in the amount of $13,682 a month until March of 2019. That’s a grand total of more than $1 million. Merali also continues to fight for a $580,000 severance package.  “Mr. Merali has already dinged taxpayers enough, now we find out he’s entitled to another million dollars of taxpayer money,” Forsyth said. “This kind of waste and mismanagement has sadly become commonplace in AHS. It’s time for this PC government to get serious about recovering these wasted millions for taxpayers and finally putting an end to the rampant culture of entitlement that has seized our health care system.”