MARIPOSA — The Board of Directors of the John C. Fremont Healthcare District recently conducted their annual evaluation of Matthew Matthiessen, the District CEO. During his evaluation, Matthiessen not only declined a merit increase but requested the continuation of a salary reduction that he had already started to take a year and a half earlier.
Shortly after COVID-19 hit in March 2020, Matthiessen took a voluntary 20% pay cut to provide financial relief to the District because of the financial challenges caused by COVID-19. He took a 10% cut this year. Matthiessen asked the Board to make his salary reduction official rather than leaving it as voluntary.
The five-member Board was concerned that his salary was below market for the State of California, because finding a replacement would be a challenge at that level. For instance, the new CEO for Northern Inyo Healthcare District started her job at a base salary of $360,000 three and a half weeks ago.
Hospital CEOs top the list of California’s highest-paid special district workers, according to Transparent California, the state’s largest public pension database. The California Hospital Association reports that the 10th percentile in the salary range for CEOs of hospitals with less than 100 beds is $234,200 and the 10th percentile for rural hospitals is $248,180.
“Either way you look at it, Matthiessen’s salary is below the state-wide 10th percentile,” said Candy O’Donel-Browne-Browne, Board Chair.
O’Donel-Browne went on to say, “At his request, the Board unanimously decided that his salary will be reduced to $225,000, the same amount the District CEO was paid five years ago.” The decision was made at the November 17th Board meeting. O’Donel-Browne added, “He has the board’s full support.”
Matthiessen has been with JCFHD for eight years, starting as Chief Financial Officer before accepting the role of CEO four years ago. He guided the hospital team to take actions that overcame the financial challenges facing the district when he first arrived.