McKinney: Barnes’ Criticism of Hospital Exec Pay Hypocritical

April 17, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) today called on Governor Malloy’s Budget Secretary Ben Barnes to square his recent criticism of executive pay at private nonprofit hospitals with the administration’s approval of state funding increases and million dollar salaries at UCONN Health Center.

“If Secretary Barnes believes that hospitals should not receive additional public funds because of high executive compensation, then why has he proposed a $39 million increase in funding to the UCONN Health Center?” Senator McKinney asked. “If that’s not what he believes, then he should retract his remarks and apologize for them.”

Senator McKinney was referring to comments by Secretary Barnes published in the April 13 weekend edition of the Journal Inquirer:

“I don’t understand how someone running a nonprofit should be making so much money. When you get into seven digits, it suggests that a nonprofit is producing ample revenue to support its public mission without an annual increase in public subsidy.

“That level of compensation for hospital executives reflects how well the hospitals are doing,” Barnes continued. “If these organizations are in fact teetering on the edge as they might have you believe, then why are they paying multiple executives in the high six figures, and in some cases seven-figure salaries? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Senator McKinney called the remarks “hypocritical” given that five employees of UCONN Health Center earn more than $900,000 annually; including two who earn more than $1 million. Meanwhile, the governor proposed a $39 million increase in funding to UCONN Health Center in his biennial budget. Conversely, the governor proposed a $550.5 million cut to Connecticut hospitals over the next two years.

According to information available on the Connecticut Transparency Website (, four faculty members and a vice president at UCONN Health Center were paid more than $900,000 in salary and fringe benefits in 2012 (see list below).

Additionally, the health center’s current vice president, Frank Torti is scheduled to receive a base salary of $780,000. He is also eligible to receive a performance incentive at the end of his first year worth an additional $150,000, meaning his total annual compensation could reach as much as $930,000 not including fringe benefits.

  Salary & Wages      Fringe Benefits Total Compensation
Hilary Onyiuke  $1,023,743.53 62,106,84 1,085,850.37
James D. Whalen 929,236.34 76,661.69 1,005,898.03
Hanspaul Makkar  898,714.38 46,638.58 947,352.96
John C. Nulsen 857,841.07 68,703.64 926,544.71
Cato T. Laurencin 844,615.50 59,324.55 903,940.05