Open Forum

Gov. Rell’s fundraising numbers are in: she raised $20K without trying even a little bit. She lags behind Malloy and Bysiewicz, though I don’t think that really means anything. She could snap her fingers and have all the money she needs. Certain to fuel speculation about her not running, though.

About ten percent of technical school teachers left in the voluntary retirement program, and many more may be laid off.

The Griffin Line lives! The potential rail link to Bradley is getting some new attention after languishing for years.

Speaking of rail, the state is now actively pursuing federal dollars for the commuter rail line from New Haven to Springfield.

There will be a hearing in Stamford about fare increases on existing and buses and trains.

The state has received over $1.5 billion in stimulus funds so far.

Teachers’ unions, by and large, have not made concessions this year.

A challenger to John DeStefano in New Haven says she would have promoted a white firefighter at the center of a case recently decided by the Supreme Court.

Budget talks may continue today.

What else is going on?

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19 responses to “Open Forum

  1. It’s been a slow couple of days for local and state political news.

    Were there any “Sunday Submissions” for this past weekend?

  2. Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation, the county’s premire leftist magazine, has weighed in on the Vietnam-like war in Afghanistan:

    Where is the US nightly television (broadcast and cable) coverage of our service people returning in coffins? Where are the brutal and honest images of Afghanistan–of Afghan women and children killed, of US soldiers in the hell of combat. Where is the coverage of the staggering increase of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, traumatic brain injuries and suicides among the many 1000s of service members who’ve already paid a price for Iraq and Afghanistan? Have the networks and cable channels spent so much of their budgets covering Michael Jackson’s untimely death and star-studded memorial, Sarah Palin’s ramblings and Mark Sanford’s personal and political derelictions that they can’t give us the real news we need if we’re to be a democracy informed about what our country is doing in our name?

  3. Certain to fuel speculation about her not running, though.

    Don’t lose any sleep worrying about that.

    Some of the same people that will be dialing for dollars for Jodi have been busily working on next years convention plans.
    Those plans should be solidified by the end of this month.

  4. Dr. Ken Thomas at the Bridgeport Hospital penned this piece about overblown hospital administrator salaries, something to be considered in light of Gov. Rell’s healthcare vetoes.

    One Way to Cut Hospital Costs

    According to OHCA data, for Bridgeport Hospital’s 10 highest paid employees, the president/CEO received total compensation of $2.54 million in 2008, with the other four administrators on the “top 10” list receiving from $331,960 to $572,020 each. The 2008 data for Greenwich Hospital is similarly extravagant, with its CEO receiving total compensation of $1,197,091 and its other top administrators receiving from $429,141 to $613,265 apiece. For comparison, the median income for all Connecticut households in 2008 was $69,567; for Bridgeport households, it was $49,456.

    Great reporting showing how outrageous CEO compensation is in the health care sector.

  5. Great reporting showing how outrageous CEO compensation is in the health care sector.

    Ken, why is this outrageous? Do you have any idea how hard these administrators have worked to get to where they are? I’ve never met the man or woman, but it is entirely possible — in fact, I would guarantee it — that Greenwich Hospital’s CEO has worked 17 times harder than the median Connecticut household to get to where he/she is today. Do you think that this person would have worked just as hard if they knew that there wouldn’t be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

    You have no basis for suggesting that these administrators haven’t earned their salaries. In essence, the only difference between this post and your attack on Jim Calhoun is that you’re not calling the CEO out on camera.

    Why do you hate success so much?

  6. Jack,

    Success? Go read the article to which Ken linked. As the author notes, these hospitals are implementing significant layoffs and cutbacks in order to balance their budgets. The author argues that if the compensation of the highest paid employees at these facilities were reduced to “reasonable levels” that they could balance their budgets without significant layoffs or cuts in services.

    Both of these hospitals are not-for-profit corporations. In the case of Bridgeport hospital, the article says they face an $8 million dollar deficit. For my part, if I were the CEO of a not-for-profit, earning $2.5 million annually and trying to close an $8 million deficit, I’d like to think I’d be willing to step up and take a pay cut in order to balance the books. In this case, the author of the article suggests an 80% cut in executive compensation which, in the case of the CEO’s compensation could free up as much as $2 million towards balancing the hospital’s budget while still leaving the CEO with a very comfortable $500,000+ in compensation.

    Yes, it’s reasonable to quarrel with his definition of “reasonable” as an 80% pay cut, but the point is certainly one worth considering. Is it reasonable to describe astronomical executive compensation packages at companies that are losing money as “rewarding success?” I don’t think so. For my part, I consider earning $2.5 million to run a corporation that is swimming in red ink as a rather odd definition of “success.”

  7. According to OHCA data, for Bridgeport Hospital’s 10 highest paid employees, the president/CEO received total compensation of $2.54 million in 2008, with the other four administrators on the “top 10″ list receiving from $331,960 to $572,020 each. The 2008 data for Greenwich Hospital is similarly extravagant, with its CEO receiving total compensation of $1,197,091 and its other top administrators receiving from $429,141 to $613,265 apiece. For comparison, the median income for all Connecticut households in 2008 was $69,567; for Bridgeport households, it was $49,456.

    Couple questions, anyone?

    Do these hospitals receive state money?

    When we say median income for all CT households…does that mean per person or for the entire family living under that roof?

    Thanks in advance

  8. I consider earning $2.5 million to run a corporation that is swimming in red ink as a rather odd definition of “success.”

    Not an invalid point.

    What those receive for running various charitable groups, foundations, so forth is occasionally eye opening as well.
    Maybe they’re worth it but personally I’m not inclined to donate to a group where the CEO is pulling down over a million a year.

  9. Grumpy (appropriately), determining whether the pay is “astronomical” or “reasonable” is a subjective decision, and it’s not yours to make. Unless you’re a member of the hospital’s board, that decision is, to quote the President, “above your paygrade.” It’s a private hospital.

    Also, “gifting” them $2 million doesn’t provide them with any incentive to economize, and cutting executive pay by 80% would lead to a 100% reduction in the willingness of a qualified executive to work there.

  10. AndersonScooper

    Yes Jack. I’m sure they couldn’t get anyone qualified to run the hospital for only $1,000,000/year.

    In fact if the hospital is having so many problems, maybe they just need to suck it up and find a $5,000,000/year guy.

    Honestly a hospital is hard to run, and maybe Bridgeport is just being penny-wise in trying to rely on just a $2,500,000/year person!

  11. Also, “gifting” them $2 million doesn’t provide them with any incentive to economize, and cutting executive pay by 80% would lead to a 100% reduction in the willingness of a qualified executive to work there.

    What? Sounds like you and I have a completely different perspective on what “compensation” means. I tend to think it’s what you earn for your performance at your job. In the case of a CEO (for profit, nonprofit, or not for profit,) one of the key benchmarks of performance is whether or not the corporation’s bottom line is written in black ink or red ink. The sense of entitlement in your “gifting” comment is breathtaking. I’d view such a “gift” as “economizing.”

    For the record, I have run nonprofit and not-for-profit corporations. Never once have my organizations run a deficit. Also, we never had to lay off any employees. One reason might be that we never paid any of our staff inflated salaries.

  12. What? Sounds like you and I have a completely different perspective on what “compensation” means. I tend to think it’s what you earn for your performance at your job. In the case of a CEO (for profit, nonprofit, or not for profit,) one of the key benchmarks of performance is whether or not the corporation’s bottom line is written in black ink or red ink. The sense of entitlement in your “gifting” comment is breathtaking. I’d view such a “gift” as “economizing.”

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t know the guy/girl in the job, and if he/she isn’t doing his/her job, he/she should be fired. Period.

    My point is that the CEO of a major hospital who is making $2.5 million a year isn’t necessarily being paid an “astronomical” salary.

  13. If people were judged based upon job performance, our Democrat super majority legislature would be unemployed.

  14. Not an invalid point.

    Thank you.

    You have a very valid point about compensation in the nonprofit world. The sense of entitlement to inflated compensation packages is alive and well in the nonprofit world just as it is in the for-profit world.

  15. My point is that the CEO of a major hospital who is making $2.5 million a year isn’t necessarily being paid an “astronomical” salary.

    Fair enough. My point would be that the CEO of a major not-for-profit hospital should not feel entitled to that level of compensation at a time when the hospital is losing money.

    Admittedly, I would have a hard time accepting that he should feel entitled to that level of compensation even when the hospital is in the black. (This is not the for-profit corporate world we are talking about after all.) But, if the hospital weren’t losing money, I wouldn’t be quite as disgusted by a $2.5 million compensation package.

  16. Admittedly, I would have a hard time accepting that he should feel entitled to that level of compensation even when the hospital is in the black. (This is not the for-profit corporate world we are talking about after all.) But, if the hospital weren’t losing money, I wouldn’t be quite as disgusted by a $2.5 million compensation package.

    That’s a decent point, as is ACR’s. I suppose the CEO (again, I’ve never met him/her) could make the Bidenish argument that the situation would be much worse than an $8 million deficit if not for his performance, but that comment was stupid when Biden said it and it would probably be stupid here.

  17. The CT On-line blogs link column on the right hand of this page needs some attention.

    Political Capitol link has been changed…

    Ken Dixon should be added — his blog on the ConnPost is interesting.

    And the whole thing needs to be re-alphabetized. Dan Malloy is before CT News Junkie?

    The ‘C’s’ are not in order. we need a librarian!

  18. Jonathan Kantrowitz

    While you are editing the blog list, how about adding mine?

    http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz

  19. Seems a little odd that the CEO of a non profit hospital is making over $2 million while the hospital loses money. But that’s just my gut feel, which for hospital salaries is not related to any facts. So I went to Google and figured out what some public hospital CEOs made:

    SunLink Health Systems owns 6 and leases one hospital, with a total of 400 beds. Company is based in Atlanta. CEO Robert Thornton made $658K last year. Hospitals had $158.4 million in revenue and $5.14 million in operating income (this is income before interest and taxes: I like to exclude those things because interest is more or less pre-ordained and CEO has little control over taxes).

    Tenent Healthcare is based in Dallas and runs 55 hospitals, with 14K beds. CEO Trevor Fetter made $1.081 million in salary and $11.43 million in total last year. Last year, the company had $8.66 billion in revenue and $300 million in operating profit.

    LifePoint Hospitals has 48 hospitals with 5,700 beds. CEO William Carpenter earned $800K salary and $4.222 million in total compensation last year. Income was $2.7 billion, operating income was $226.3 million.

    Health Management Associates runs 56 hospitals with 8K beds. CEO Gary Newsome had total salary of $766K last year and total compensation of $1.46 million. Company revenue was $4.45 billion; operating income was $402 million.

    MedCath Corp has an ownership stake in 9 hospitals, and owns a majority share in 7 of those 9. Focus on cardiovascular, but the hospitals are all general hospitals with ER departments. CEO Edwin French had a base salary last year of $1.08 million and total compensation of $1.33 million. Revenue was $614 million and operating income was $45 million.

    So there is some comparative data to mull over. Bear in mind that these are systems, not individual hospitals, as it would not be efficient for a single hospital to be publicly-traded with all the overhead costs that being public entails (printing annual reports, investor calls, registration fees and the like). Also, comparison won’t be apples-to-apples: CEO salaries vary based on when they exercise options. If a CEO owns a big chunk of the company, he or she normally won’t take a large salary, because heor she could declare a dividend and get taxed at 20% instead of 40%. In the operating profits numbers above, there could be some one-time events that skew things (winning a lawsuit or losing a lawsuit, a big depreciation or amortization expense, a big fee paid to break a lease early, etc).

    However, my initial assessment based on the above numbers it that $2.5 million to a hospital administrator of a non profit that is losing money is indeed high.

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