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Bosses paid bonuses as CLBC lost way

Jul 26 2012

Senior executives at Community Living B.C. each received bonuses of more than $13,000 last year while the agency was under fire for closing group homes and cutting services to adults with developmental disabilities, documents show.

Three executives earned the bonuses - nearly the maximum of what each was allowed - despite the government's promise last fall to scrap the incentive pay program "as quickly as possible."

"In a people-first organization like CLBC, an incentive plan performance based on targets and measures is, quite simply, not appropriate," Minister of Social Development Stephanie Cadieux said in a statement last October.

The government and Community Living B.C.'s board of directors, however, quietly opted to keep the incentive pay system in place until the 2011-12 fiscal year ended March 31.

Under the system, vice-presidents could earn up to 10 per cent of their base salary for achieving goals and hitting targets.

Financial statements released Wednesday show that three vice-presidents earned almost the full amount in 2011-12, at a time when the agency admitted losing its way.

Doug Woollard, vice-president of organizational development, earned a base salary of $146,028 and an extra $13,434, or 9.2 per cent of his base salary, in incentive pay. Woollard took over as interim chief executive officer when Rick Mowles left in the midst of the scandal.

Richard Hunter, vice-president of corporate services, earned $137,977 in salary and an additional $13,591, or 9.6 per cent, in incentives.

Carol Goozh, vice-president of policy and program development, earned $137,842 and $13,591, or 9.9 per cent, in incentive pay.

Cadieux has said that when she initially called for an end to the incentive pay program last fall, she was under the impression that executives were receiving bonuses over and above their salary. She said it was only later that she learned the bonus money was actually part of an executive's salary that was held back until they met certain goals.

Cadieux said the money was a "legally binding part" of each employees' compensation package and could not be easily eliminated without inviting possible lawsuits. The government did not clarify the situation with the public until the Times Colonist learned last month that the bonuses were still in place.

NDP critic Carole James said it was "unbelievable" that the executives received almost their full bonuses during a disastrous year for the agency.

"Government admitted they it had failed and even then they still paid the bonuses out," she said Wednesday. "What a slap in the face, what a real insult to families."

James said the situation raised questions about what, if anything, executives had to achieve in order to earn their bonuses.

"The criteria could not have been good performance, because even the minister and premier admitted they failed at CLBC," she said.

The government replaced the incentive pay system with a new compensation package on April 1. The money that managers previously received as incentive pay is now rolled into their salary. They no longer have to achieve certain goals and their overall compensation is slightly less than it was in the past.

The vice-presidents get a permanent 9.66 per cent lift in salary once pension contributions are included. Directors and managers, who earned up to five per cent of their salary as incentives, got salary increases of 4.9 per cent including pension contributions. lkines@timescolonist.com

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