Some BRHS employees face pay cuts

Published 6:20 am Friday, November 19, 2010

Staff Writer

Some Beaufort Regional Health System employees will see their wages cut by 5 percent, following action Thursday by the BRHS Board of Commissioners.
The commissioners voted 7-1, with board member Edwin M. “Sandy” Hardy casting the sole dissenting vote, to cut the salaries of those employees making more than $10 an hour by 5 percent beginning with their next paychecks.
The board encouraged those physicians under contract to the health system to voluntarily take a 5-percent pay cut as well.
Meanwhile, the BRHS board is continuing discussions with its four potential suitors.
After a closed-door session that lasted nearly two hours, the BRHS board took no action on the four offers currently before the board.
A four-member committee comprised of the BRHS board’s executive committee — Chairwoman Alice Mills Sadler, Vice Chairwoman Brenda Peacock, Secretary Hood Richardson — and board member Suzanne Gray is leading the negotiations.
The negotiations are taking place behind closed doors.
The action on employee salaries reverses an October vote by the panel approving a 90-day salary deferral for those same employees.
After a closed-door meeting with its lawyers, Sadler said the board had been advised that the action deferring BRHS employee salaries had been improper. The board failed to give BRHS employees 30-days notice of the salary deferral, as is required, Sadler said.
Following Thursday’s action, BRHS will return the wages that had been deferred during the previous pay period in the employees’ next paychecks. 
In enacting the deferral, board members had said they hoped to be able to return the wages that had been withheld to BRHS employees. But as a result of Thursday’s action, the money cut from employees’ wages will not be returned.
BRHS board member Grace Bonner did not attend the meeting.