Exec at Ailing Israeli Hospital Received Unfair Golden Parachute

As Hadassah University Hospital totters, its former director general takes in millions. It's robbery of the public coffers.

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Sometimes, when we learn that the public coffers have been robbed, we see the extent of some irresponsible behavior. The retirement package of Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef is a case in point.

After all, it’s inconceivable for doctors, nurses, administrators and custodial staff at Hadassah University Hospital to endure salary cuts and the dismissal of 550 people, including 30 doctors, while Mor-Yosef continues to enjoy the amazing golden parachute he received as a former director general. It’s as if he wasn’t a main character in the story of the hospital’s woes.

In an emotional appearance before the Knesset Finance Committee, Mor-Yosef said this week he was willing to have a former judge examine his retirement package and would accept any decision. But I don’t think a former judge is the solution. Hadassah has to end the outrageous payouts and ask a court to decide on a new retirement agreement – a far more logical and modest one – that takes into account Mor-Yosef’s contribution to Hadassah in terms of its medical and research infrastructure.

Mor-Yosef’s golden parachute was signed in January 2010 during a battle between the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization (the owner) and the director general, when the Hadassah women wanted Mor-Yosef to retire. They said he wasn’t the right person to implement the tough revamp that the organization wanted, because during his tenure the hospital began to suffer serious deficits. And always in such cases there’s a need for a new person unbound to preconceived ideas.

Mor-Yosef’s golden parachute would be infuriating even if he hadn’t left the hospital bleeding behind him. The agreement grants him a “bridging pension” worth 75,000 shekels ($21,370) per month, to be paid from the day of his retirement until age 67; that is, seven years. Then he’ll receive his pension from the pension fund he accumulated.

In addition, Mor-Yosef received retirement compensation of 100 percent, based on his last salary multiplied by the years he worked, as well as a retirement grant. We’re talking about several million shekels. He also received approval to redeem unused sick days and vacation days, and if that’s not enough, Hadassah continues to set aside money for his pension and various funds, as if he still worked for the institution.

This is a scandalous agreement from start to finish. A director general who finishes his job at a public institution is entitled to compensation of 100 percent, but what’s this “bridging pension” until age 67? It’s not fair and it’s not standard procedure. This is robbery of the public coffers, even if the board of directors approved it.

What, can’t a person of his stature earn enough by the time he retires? What, a person with such a high salary didn’t save anything? And here’s a little fact: Today he’s director general of the National Insurance Institute, with a salary of 60,000 shekels a month, when his predecessor in that job, Esther Dominissini, managed to get by on 38,000 shekels.  

And why should Hadassah continue to make such social-welfare payments after his retirement? It’s doubtful whether it’s legal.

Finally, if people say that “agreements must be honored,” we’ll remind them of other examples in which a court overturned agreements that undermined proper public administration. That happened with Ernst Yafet’s pension at Bank Leumi and Gideon Gadot’s retirement package at the national lottery. So without comparing the various cases, exchanging a retirement agreement for a more reasonable one is possible.

Today, when Hadassah women are asked about the infuriating retirement package, they say it was done without their knowledge. That’s the first tear in the golden parachute. The complete folding of the parachute must be carried out quickly, by the Hadassah administration, as part of the revamp.

Shlomo Mor-Yosef. He's in the money. Credit: Moti Milrod

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