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Whidbey General CEO’s base pay set at $230,000

The Whidbey General Hospital commissioners showed signs of transparency Monday night when they publicly discussed and voted on the hospital CEO’s base salary of $230,000 during their monthly meeting.

“We’re going to be as open as we can to the public on our business matters,” said board president Dr. Roger Case when asked about the open discussion.

Case and his fellow commissioners, Ron Wallin, Paul Zaveruha and Grethe Cammermeyer, unanimously set the salary for newly hired CEO Tom Tomasino. Commissioner Ann Tarrant was absent.

The board determined the new CEO’s pay based on something called the Northwest Region Hospital Executive Compensation Survey.

According to the survey, hospitals with $100 million in gross revenue pay their CEOs $180,000 on average; institutions with $250 million in gross revenue pay their CEOs $290,000 on average.

“We’re right in the middle of that with $120 million,” Case said.

The commissioners agreed on a base salary of $230,000. In comparison, the CEO of Island Hospital in Anacortes makes $211,000 after nine years in the job.

State law requires the commissioners to introduce the CEO salary at a regular board meeting. The contract cannot be accepted until the following meeting, Zaveruha said.

There will be a number of other changes to the contract, Case said.

In its current draft form, the three-year contract would allow the commissioners to “adjust” the CEO’s pay, which bothered Commissioner Cammermeyer, who suggested the removal of “wishy-washy” language that could allow the commissioners to increase or decrease the CEO’s salary at will.

Other changes will include more specific language regarding an education stipend and benefit pay.

Commissioner Ron Wallin feels Tomasino is well deserving of the $230,000 base salary and commended the new CEO for his diligent work ethic.

“Tom has set the bar kind high for himself,” he said. “He’s going from good to great.”

Tomasino served as the interim CEO following former CEO Scott Rhine’s resignation in October 2008. The board unanimously named Tomasino, the former chief operating officer, as the hospital’s CEO during a special meeting at the Au Sable Institute in July.

Tomasino’s contract will likely be finalized at the next Whidbey General Hospital Board of Commissioners meeting, scheduled for Monday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m., Whidbey General Hospital Conference Room A.

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