EDMONTON, AB (November 19, 2013): Earlier this month, AHS Official Administrator John Cowell quietly announced the return of Don Siben to chair the committee responsible for the $10 billion AHS budget, Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said today.
Siben was chair of the AHS audit and finance committee when the Auditor General slammed the embattled health authority for $100 million in questionable expenses, and insufficient reporting to the board. He also chaired the audit and finance committee of the former Capital Health Region during a time when former CFO Allaudin Meralli was allowed to bill taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars in egregious expenses. Forsyth called his new appointment troublesome. “During Siben’s past tenure as finance and audit chair, former AHS CFO Allaudin Merali billed taxpayers for repairs made to his Mercedes, fine dining and a personal butler for his house,” Forsyth said. “Now, Health Minister Fred Horne feels confident having him at the helm once again. This is not the kind of change Albertans expect.” Forsyth said the government’s re-appointment of a member of a board fired for refusing to cut executive bonuses shows the government is not serious about tackling the problems at Alberta Health Services. “This is not change, it’s rotating the same people in to make the same mistakes,” Forsyth said.