McEvoy surprised by Council outcry over severance

Outgoing Memorial Health System CEO Larry McEvoy is a little surprised by the outcry and controversy over his $1.5 million severance package.

After all, he said, City Council was consulted along the way, as was City Attorney Chris Melcher.

“I’m surprised by the concern from some quarters,” he said. “The board was following industry standards and methods. They know how to do this and come to terms – and the City Council was briefed along the way.”

McEvoy’s severance includes 18-months salary, a little more than $1 million – and it’s that part that seems to bother City Council members and Mayor Steve Bach. He’ll also receive the company car, a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid, cash out his unpaid vacation and his retirement pension. He’ll receive $20,000 in outplacement services to find a new job and Memorial will pay the employer’s share of his insurance benefits.

The board of trustees is meeting today at 4 p.m. at Memorial’s administration building at 2420 Pikes Peak Ave in a partly closed session to discuss McEvoy’s severance package, which has garnered criticism from City Council members and calls from Mayor Steve Bach to dissolve the board if necessary.

McEvoy won’t be at the meeting, because he is out of town attending medical conference. However, he said he trusted the board.

“I’ve worked with them for four and a half years,” he said. “I know the conversations they have. They want to do what’s best and what the standards and methods are in the health care industry. They will apply those standards and they will do their fiduciary duty. I will accept their decision.”

City Council also is meeting at 4 p.m. tomorrow to consider action on McEvoy’s severance package.

“This is just what you get when you mix political agenda with the standards of a complex organization, a complex industry,” he said. “Especially when that industry is health care and it’s as complex as health care gets. There are standards to follow. And the political agendas are inevitable in municipal government.”

He does think that some of the criticism would end if people “take a deep breath and realize we all need to be on the same page.”

“This deal with the University of Colorado is a very, very good one,” he said. “It’s good for the patients; it’s good for the community. There is an opportunity right in front of us. But this is a distraction from those goals. There should be a focus on what’s best for the community.”

It’s one reason he stepped down, he said. He didn’t want to be a distraction to the negotiating process. Instead, he’s found himself once again as the topic of controversy.

McEvoy says he “doesn’t enjoy” the smears to his professionalism and his leadership abilities, but he understands them.

“From my background as an emergency room physician, I know that you can make decisions that are the best for the patient, the right thing at the right time. And still, tempers flare because people don’t fully understand the complexity.

“I think people should stop and ask themselves: ‘Were things done rationally?’ and “Were they done within the industry standards and guidelines?’ The answer to both these questions is yes. “

To read more about the industry standards for CEO severance packages, click here.

One Response to McEvoy surprised by Council outcry over severance

  1. if the city and board don’t like the severance package, they should have never negotiated this deal – CEO’s are like athletes and movie stars now – they have agents and lawyers that negotiate the best deal for the CEO, not the customer. The agent’s job is to protect the CEO. Wake Colorado Springs, these packages are NOT unusual. Like the D49 Board President being surprised last year when they fired their Super that she recieved over $250k in severance…..it’s all part of the negotiation process AND the boards’ sign off on these hiring decisions….blame the past, but they are aware of who is what when the new council and Back took office…if not, read your paperwork…..

    KennyG
    April 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm