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Tri-City Medical Center Board Weighs Fate Of CEO

Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, March 2016.
Promise Yee
Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, March 2016.

The publicly elected Tri-City Medical Center board of directors will vote this week on whether to terminate the contract of Chief Executive Officer Tim Moran, after only two years. The board fired its previous CEO in 2013.

Meanwhile, disgruntled labor groups are collecting signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot to cap administrator salaries.

Tri-City Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer David Bennett confirmed the board will vote Thursday on whether to offer Moran a termination agreement with a year's salary of $525,000 and 12 months medical coverage. No reason for the termination has been given.

The move comes at a time when Tri-City hospital workers are collecting signatures from Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista voters for a ballot initiative to cap top hospital administrators pay at $250,000.

Hospital worker Angelique Green said 5,000 of the 14,000 signatures needed to put the initiative on the November ballot have been collected since January.

“There were people today out door knocking and they filled up all the petitions they had with them,” Green said. “I don't think we're going to have any trouble reaching that 14,000 signature goal.”

The hospital board filed a lawsuit in mid-February alleging the initiative is invalid, because residents cannot vote on salaries of board-elected positions. A similar argument prevailed in a lawsuit filed by El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California in 2013, after a worker ballot initiative to cap salaries passed.

In February, shortly after the Tri-City lawsuit was filed, board chair Jim Dagostino said it's the board's responsibility to protect all employees, including administrators.

Dagostino said a salary cap of $250,000 is way out of line with the national average hospital administrators are paid, which is $602,000. He said cutting pay would endanger losing top talent.

“I don't think we can keep our crackerjack team (if salaries are lowered),” Dagostino said. “Market drives industry.”

Green said the initiative would allow more funds for hospital equipment, patient care and front-line workers.

“The community deserves to know where their taxpayer dollar is going,” Green said. “And if it’s not benefiting patient care, and it’s going toward salaries and bonuses and perks, I think the community needs to be aware of that.”

Contacted about the possibility of Moran's termination, Green said, “We need a CEO who isn’t about milking taxpayers with over-the-top pay, and instead recognizes that the hospital board makeup needs to reflect the community it serves."

Hospital workers have been in contract negotiations for almost a year. The contract is set to expire in April.

A date for the lawsuit hearing is expected within the next week.

Tri-City Medical Center serves Oceanside, Vista and Carlsbad.

Corrected: October 2, 2022 at 2:23 AM PDT
Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at Twitter: @promisenews.
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