Union VP blasts SVMH pensions as ‘outrageous’

NewsFebruary 1, 2012

Andy Stiny, Salinas Californian
Jan 31, 2012

The vice-president of the union representing about 750 Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital workers is blasting the hospital administration after the release of information showing two hospital executives received one-time supplemental pension payouts of over $1 million and three others received lesser amounts.

“It’s the same concerns we raised around Sam Downing’s (retired hospital CEO) pension,” said John Borsos, vice-president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Downing retired from the hospital in April with almost $4 million in supplemental retirement benefits and a regular pension of $150,000 a year. That pension scheme was stopped by the hospital board in December.

“You have and had executives at SVMH who are making and receiving benefits that are just outrageous,” said Borsos.

Asked by e-mail to respond to Borsos’ comments and the retirement payouts in general, interim hospital CEO Lowell Johnson wrote: “We are not going to comment further on this topic.”

Other than the release of the retirement payouts late Monday afternoon, The Salinas Californian has received no comment from the hospital.

“We are proud of the role we played in stopping it (the retirement payouts). It should have never been approved by the board to begin with,” said Borsos.

The benefit information had been sought by several news organizations, including The Salinas Californian, under the California Public Records Act.

The information from the hospital shows these supplemental pension payouts: John Fletcher, vice-president, $1,083,041.42; Frank Katsuda, vice-president, $5,029.44 (annual annuity instead of lump sum); Liz Lorenzi, vice-president, $357,873.73; David Perrott, MD, $371,193.37; Bev Ranzenberger, vice-president, $1,330,744.87.

In addition to the one-time supplemental pension payouts the five executives also receive monthly life annuities: Those are: Fletcher, $9,046.06; Katsuda, not eligible due to length of service; Lorenzi, $4,501.76; Perrott, $4,218.03; and Ranzenberger, $8,125.88.

The news of Downing’s payout prompted a state-ordered audit due next month.

Check Wednesday’s Californian for a full report.

(Information from the AP was included in this report)