- AHS has "pay at risk" system, which is arguably similar to a bonus system, despite the fact that it is designed to result in nationally average salaries once the pay at risk is included.
- A stink is raised politically about the "bonuses" that AHS executives are getting.
- Minister Horne instructs the Board of AHS to "review" their decision with regard to these bonuses.
- The Board performs the required "review", and determines that a) the system will not be used next year, and b) they are contractually obligated to pay the bonuses for this year.
- Minister Horne fires the entire board, and appoints an administrator, asking her to look into the issue.
- The administrator comes back saying "no, the board was right, we're contractually obliged."
- The Minister then argues that he was under the impression that there were executives within the organization who were willing to forgo their bonuses, but the Board was unwilling to even entertain that option. The option is given by the new administrator.
The news today is that only one of the 99 executives to whom bonuses were due has opted not to receive it.
So all of the reasons that Minister Horne offered for firing the board seem to be lacking in believability.
Now, to be fair, and to be complete, this whole "firing the board" episode also happened while it was becoming apparent that the reorganization of contracting for home care services had been a giant disaster. So Minister Horne could also be accused, though he hasn't said so, of firing the board because they allowed this incompetent decision to be made. A number of executives were also fired around the same time, and that could arguably have had something to do with this decision.
There have been ongoing problems on that front, and as of yesterday after a report by the CBC about ongoing problems in the system, the Minister has said that the ministry is "taking control" of the file, and that they will review all of the existing contracts, and if the contractors are not providing adequate service they will be replaced.
Before we take too much comfort in the fact that the ministry is taking control of the file, remember that there is no permanent CEO for AHS right now, and there is no board, and the previous administrator has been made the Deputy Minister of Health. It's pretty fair to say that the ministry has been in control of the file for a while. It's been in control of every file for a while.
As for replacing the contractors, one cannot help but wonder whether the Minsiter is - again - thinking that the government can just ignore contracts with impunity.