Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, Jul 03 2012 11:01 PM

Spending at KMC

By The Bakersfield Californian

Why did people make such a big deal about the Kern County Board of Supervisors receiving a 6 percent salary increase over two years and yet nobody was astonished when on May 8 the Board of Supervisors, under a proposal set forth by Paul Hensler, approved a billing increase for Dr. Eric vanSonnenberg, chief academic officer at Kern Medical Center, of 33 percent? VanSonnenberg goes from $990,000 to $1.32 million -- a fiscal impact of $362,956, according to the board's minutes.

Dr. Eugene E. Kercher increased his billing to KMC from $900,000 to $1.2 million (a 33 percent increase in one year and a fiscal impact of $332,521), and Dr. Alaleh Bazmi had a $37,000 pay increase, which makes his billable limit now $237,000. Wasn't Hensler closing family practice services because KMC is losing money? Yet he can use taxpayers' money to make two doctors millionaires.

Furthermore, isn't it a conflict of interest for Kern Health Systems to give KMC $13 million when Hensler is chairman of the board for KHS and CEO of KMC? I know he did recuse himself from the vote, but come on, isn't this why conflict-of-interest rules, regulations and laws exist? Hensler just gave himself $13 million to alleviate his KMC troubles -- money he can now use to say he brought KMC's budget under control and earn his huge bonus. Here's Paul robbing Peter to pay Paul. Shouldn't this be investigated as well? Where are our tax watchdog groups?

Alvaro Rangel-Villasenor

Bakersfield

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