Generous retirement plan draws heavy criticism
By JIM JOHNSON
Herald Staff Writer
Posted: 04/29/2011 01:28:29 AM PDT
Hospital district officials are defending Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System president and CEO Sam Downing’s retirement package, which includes millions in supplemental retirement compensation on top of an annual pension, and has drawn heavy criticism from union leadership.
Downing, who officially leaves his post on Saturday, will collect nearly $4 million in addition to his $150,000-per-year pension. The retirement plan was split into several different accounts, apparently in an effort to bypass IRS rules governing the size of individual plans. Other hospital executives are offered access to similarly structured packages.
One union official described Downing’s package as outrageous, especially at a time when the hospital district administration is seeking concessions on benefits from its employees, cutting staff and other costs, and paying millions to a consulting firm.