Plan for Hospital Includes 10% Pay Cut for Workers


By Steven Tavares
The Citizen

San Leandro Hospital workers may need to take a 10 percent pay cut to keep the facility open according to a possible plan outlined by Mayor Tony Santos during Monday’s city council meeting.

“I’m not too sure the employees are going to like this information,” said Santos.

The proposal, alluded to on many occasions and not created by the mayor, would garner an annual savings of $4.75 million from the pay cut and keep the hospital open between 4-5 years, according to Santos.

Rumors of a possible deal to save the hospital have persisted for two months primarily from comments regarding its existence by Santos. He would not confirm the entities behind the proposal and both Eden Township Healthcare District boardmembers Carole Rogers and Dr. Vin Sawhney have repeatedly denied any knowledge of the plan.

It is believed the proposal was drawn up by the former District counsel Craig Cannizzo days before his firing last December. At a District meeting to interview a replacement to the board in November, District CEO Dev Mahadevan also mentioned to The Citizen of the possibility of a 10 percent pay cut for hospital hospital employees.

The notion those involved with the fate of the hosptial are meeting in secret is discouraging to the labor group representing many of the nurses at the facility.

“If Mayor Santos is indeed negotiating with parties that can decide the fate of the hospital he needs to reveal who he is meeting with and open up the discussions,” said Shum Preston, a spokesman for the California Nurses Association. “The community has not been well served thus far by secret negotiations. There is broad-based, near universal support in the community to save San Leandro Hospital as an acute-care facility with an emergency room, and any discussions must represent this view through an open forum of stakeholders, including patient and community representatives.”

Santos told the council he received the proposal Dec. 17 which was the day after Dr. Vin Sawhney first attempted to fire Cannizzo. He also says no parties have agreed to the proposal, but he sees it as an “opportunity to keep this thing going.”

To keep the hospital open under the proposal, the city of San Leandro would need to contribute $500,000 annually to the deal. Santos said if the parties involved bridged the gap within their dispute, he would likely bring the proposal to the city council or call a special meeting.

Under the plan, the hospital would take on a “hybrid-like” configuration combining surgical, rehabilitation and emergency room services. Like previous plans, a yearly subsidy from an unknown source of between $3-5 million is needed. This is lower than the $6-9 million generally believed to be secured to keep the hospital in operation.

Santos later attempted to again discuss the possible downside of the District counterclaim against Sutter filed last week. “Short of the result of binding arbitration, the hospital could effectively be closed on July 1,” he said.

San Leandro City Councilman Jim Prola supported the District legal move saying, “I don’t know where this leads or whether it will be successful, but they are taking action to try and save our hospital.”