Board of Arizona safety-net hospital backtracks on CEO's $100,000 pay hike after local paper inquires

The board of Valleywise Health, a public and nonprofit safety-net health system in Phoenix, postponed discussions about increasing its CEO's pay after The Arizona Republic inquired about the hike Sept. 24.

A proposal to hike pay for Valleywise President and CEO Steve Purves by $100,000 was removed from the board's Sept. 25 agenda after the newspaper raised questions to the board. The draft agreement would have increased Mr. Purves' annual pay to $700,000 with a discretionary performance bonus of up to $175,000, according to the report. The agenda proposal would have also boosted Mr. Purves' pay another $70,000 to $770,000 beginning Sept. 25, 2020.

Longtime board member Sue Gerard came out against the raise. She told The Arizona Republic she worries how taxpayers would perceive a $100,000 salary boost for the public institution's leader. She also raised concerns about the speed at which the resolution would have been brought to a vote without adequate public input.

Board Chairman Mark Dewane said the proposal was removed from the board agenda as negotiations with Mr. Purves continue. The resolution could appear on a future agenda, officials told the newspaper.

Mr. Dewane credited Mr. Purves with leading a $170 million financial turnaround at Valleywise, as well as a successful 2014 bond package.

"It is our intent to establish his compensation well within the market ranges for CEOs in similar organizations," Mr. Dewane said in a written statement to The Arizona Republic. "I do want to recognize how important our current president and CEO Steve Purves has been to the success of this institution. ... In today's world, you have to pay for talented and tenured professionals and that's what we intend to do."

Read the full report here.

More articles on compensation:
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American College of Cardiologists calls for better wage equality

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