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Two Winnipeg Regional Health Authority top executives made over a half-million dollars each in 2019 — despite being fired part-way through the year.
Lori Lamont, former WRHA former chief operating officer and vice-president of nursing and allied health, was paid $536,000. She was fired in September 2019; her salary more than doubled the $200,000 she made in 2018.
Bruce Roe, the authority's former vice-president and chief medical officer, took home a salary of $516,678 in 2019. He was fired in June; he made $353,000 in 2018.
The increased earnings — listed in the WRHA's annual compensation disclosure notice — were due to severance packages, a WRHA spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement.
Lamont had spent two decades working different positions within the Winnipeg health authority.
Roe joined the WRHA as its top doctor in September 2017, leaving his position of president and chief executive officer at St. Boniface Hospital.
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont (no relation to Lori Lamont) said the executives' pay packages need to be explained.
"It is certainly at a time where the (government) PCs are boasting about what a great job they're doing, protecting the front lines," he said Wednesday. "It's pretty clear that the people at the very top are the ones getting big payouts, while everyone else is struggling."
The Liberal leader said some severance is reasonable, but there should be more details forthcoming regarding such large compensation packages: "The WRHA and other (regional health authorities) across the province aren't accountable enough."
Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew took a similar stance in placing the blame.
"It is disappointing the Pallister government approved these huge administrative salaries while closing emergency rooms, cutting health care and freezing the wages of nurses, aides and other front-line staff. This money could have better spent in our struggling health-care system," Kinew said in a statement Wednesday evening.
"We need an immediate return to the legislature so the PC government is accountable to all Manitobans, especially in this critical time of a pandemic."
Under the Provincial Public Sector Compensation Act, the WRHA is required to publish a list of its employees who've earned more than $75,000 annually.
The Winnipeg health authority's top three salaries in 2019 went to emergency room physicians.
Community Correspondent — Headingley
Gabrielle Piché is a community correspondent for Headingley. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 7:19 PM CDT: Adds comments from Wab Kinew.
12:42 AM: Fixes typo in photo caption
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