Bonuses at Kern Health Systems suspended

Bonuses at Kern Health Systems suspended »Play Video
Bakersfield, Ca.--- The latest controversy at Kern Health System involves whether 190 employees should get bonuses or incentives worth a total of $620,000. At least one board member is against granting the bonuses.

"As of right now I'm not in favor of the incentives or bonuses," said board member Al Wagner.

Kern Health Systems is a taxpayer-funded health insurance provider for Kern County's poor. A subcommittee met on Friday to discuss approving the bonuses to its employees.

The agency has come under fire for first approving a $13,000 dollar raise to its CEO, Carol Sorrell, giving her an annual salary of $283,000.

And then it was learned administrative staff paid $7.6 million dollars for an audit done by a consultant, Allied Management Group Special Investigation Unit Inc.

Kern Health Systems board Chairman Brian Komoto has stated he knew nothing about the money paid for the audit which has yet to recover any money.

CEO Sorrell defended the bonuses for her employees, saying that they earn it every year.

"They work their butts off to get it," said Sorrell.

But Wagner said giving out massive bonuses--15% for upper management, 10% for mid level and 5% for low level employees sends the wrong message to the community.

"I think there needs to be at attitude of frugality, and I think we need to go back to our mission of covering those people that don't have health insurance," said Wagner.

The subcommittee voted to recommend suspending the bonuses. The matter will be taken up again at a full board meeting in January.