EDITORIAL: VIHA made right choice for CEO

Installing medical doctor with administrative background best of both worlds

Dr. Brendan Carr can now take the “interim” word out of his title as president and CEO of the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Now in his third month in the job as head of one of the Capital Region’s largest and most important employers, the doctor becomes even more accountable for VIHA’s public and professional persona.

As such, he and the organization will be subject to criticisms from those who question things like his salary and the amount VIHA paid to secure his services.

As far as Carr’s annual compensation of $400,000 goes, it’s a realistic number in today’s marketplace. The public needs to accept that’s what it takes to recruit a top-notch candidate to this expensive part of the world. It’s a cost of doing business.

Likewise, paying a professional search firm upwards of $140,000 to assemble a qualified collection of individuals out of a global applicant field is not out of the ordinary. In an organization the size of the health authority, one relatively minor decision by Carr could recoup the headhunter’s fee.

Whether they are public or private, large organizations need to find leaders who bring considerable skills to the table, can hit the ground running and carry them into the future.

With years of experience as a medical doctor, and administrative background with VIHA and the regional health authority in Halifax, Carr no doubt feels comfortable in conversations ranging from patient care strategies to the financial pressures of running a collection of hospitals and care facilities on the Island.

He takes over an organization that has won awards for paying attention to diversity and provides an exceptional workplace for its employees, but is also tackling service efficiency problems in smaller communities on the Island.

The hope is that Carr will be a good advocate for the health system from a care standpoint, while also being mindful of the efficient use of tax dollars.

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