Fired WRHA executives earned over $500k in severance in 2019: documents

Two Winnipeg Regional Health Authority executives earned over $500,000 in combined severance after being fired in 2019, according to newly released compensation disclosures.

Lori Lamont, the region’s former chief operating officer and Bruce Roe, the former chief medical officer, had their annual salaries jump to over $500,000 in 2019 — despite neither working the entire year.

Lamont earned $536,000 last year, compared to just over $200,000 in 2018, while Roe’s earnings were $516,000 last year, compared to $330,000 in 2018.

Paul Turrene, a spokesperson for the WRHA, attributed the jump to severance paid out after they were terminated from their positions. 

Manitoba Liberal leader Dougald Lamont said there are still lingering questions about why these executives were let go. 

“These people are ultimately supposed to be running the show and if these people are being fired or being terminated, it is important to know why,” Dougald Lamont said. 

Dr. Bruce Roe when he was the WRHA’s chief medical officer, stands between Health Minister Cameron Friesen (L) and medical director Erin Knight an announcement for the opening of new Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics. Roe was terminated in June of 2019 and earned $516,000 that year. (Government of Manitoba )

Roe became the WRHA’s top doctor in September of 2017, but suddenly departed the position less than two years later. No official reason for the termination was given by the health authority.

Lori Lamont, who was also the vice-president of nursing, was quietly fired from the authority in September of 2019 after spending two decades working at various positions within the authority — the latter decade in senior leadership positions. 

Lamont served as interim president and CEO in 2015 after Arlene Wilgosh retired. 

‘Dysfunction’ in health care system: Kinew

NDP leader Wab Kinew said the money could have been better spent elsewhere and it shows the dysfunction in Manitoba’s health care system.

“The question I have is why is Mr. Pallister paying people half a million dollar to cut health care, close emergency rooms and leave health care aides and nurses wages frozen?” Kinew said, 

Under Manitoba’s Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act, government entities must each year disclose the salary of every public sector employee that makes more than $75,000. The salaries include overtime, retirement/severance pay, lump sum payments, vacation payouts and benefits.

Over at Manitoba Hydro, the reports show Kelvin Shepherd was paid over $250,000 for his last two months as CEO in 2019. Shepherd officially retired on Feb. 2, 2019, according to a spokesperson for Hydro. Shepherd earned $466,000 in the previous year. 

In a prepared statement, Bruce Owen said the $250,000 could be made up of a variety of things such salary, overtime and vacation payouts. 

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