Former CEO of IWK Health Centre still owes more than $22,000: report
An independent review has found that the former president and CEO of the IWK Health Centre still owes the children’s hospital more than $22,000 in personal expenses billed to her corporate credit card.
The IWK Health Centre’s board of directors released the findings of the review into Tracy Kitch’s expenses on Thursday.
Kitch resigned as the president and CEO on Aug. 23, more than two years before her contract was set to end in September 2019.
Kitch was hired by the IWK in 2014 with a base salary of $280,000 plus expenses. As president and CEO, Kitch was responsible for overseeing budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The IWK Health Centre says its board of directors has accepted the resignation of CEO Tracy Kitch.
It was previously reported that Kitch’s expense reports had changed from one reporting period to another. It was also said that she had used a corporate credit card to pay for personal expenses.
Last week, IWK board chair Karen Hutt told CTV Atlantic that Kitch had repaid a portion of expenses identified as personal, and that the board would be seeking repayment for any outstanding amounts.
The expenses have been deemed potentially personal because of what the report's authors call a "general lack of detail" in supporting documentation. For example, credit card expense reports were reviewed by the former board chair, but the chair wasn't given credit card statements and detailed receipts.
“Where we were not able to deem what the nature of the expense was because the proper documentation didn't exist, we had no other choice but to characterize it as personal,” said Hutt on Thursday.
That includes more than $26,000 in flight passes, $4,600 in data overages on a cellphone and $1,900 on car rentals. There were also charges of $161.00 for iTunes and $9.99 for movies.
“The policies prevent that, it very clearly states that so there's no circumstance where that should have been occurring,” says Hutt. “Have we learned from this? Absolutely. Will this be one of the things that we will consider going forward as we think about a replacement? Absolutely.”
Accounting firm Grant Thornton conducted the review into Kitch’s expenses and has made 14 recommendations. It states significant delays in submitting expense claims made it difficult to monitor the expenses.
It also found that of the more than $47,000 in potentially personal expenses claimed by Kitch, $25,000 has been reimbursed. Kitch is now being asked to repay the remaining $22,000.
“The expectation is that she would pay it back to us by the end of September,” says Hutt.
The government is leaving the issue in the hands of the IWK's board of directors.
In a statement, health minister Randy Delorey says: "I have confidence in the IWK board, and its handling of this serious personnel matter. The board acted promptly with professionalism and integrity. I am confident the board will implement the recommendations in the audit."
The board says it has endorsed all of the report’s findings and approved the 14 recommendations in the review, one of which requires that expenses only be reimbursed when supporting documentation is provided.
The board’s Finance, Audit and Risk Committee will oversee the implementation all of the recommendations and management will provide weekly status updates to the board until the work is complete.
Hutt says expenses of all of the IWK's executive will be reviewed and made public going forward.
Kitch will not be receiving any severance or payment, and neither she nor the board is bound by any non-disclosure agreements.
Dr. Krista Jangaard, the hospital's vice-president of medicine and academic affairs, will take over until a replacement is found.
CTV News tried to reach Kitch on Thursday but was not successful.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Ritchie.