The El Camino Hospital board announced plans this week to fight Measure M, which would limit the compensation of executives to twice what the governor of California makes in a year.
The board voted Wednesday to authorize its legal counsel to file a lawsuit, according to a statement posted on the Mountain View-based hospital's website.
"The Hospital Board believes, as do many elected officials, independent community organizations and media outlets, that Measure M is illegal and an abuse of the initiative process," the statement says.
Service Employees Union International-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents some 1,200 workers at the hospital, spearheaded the effort to put Measure M on the Nov. 6 ballot. According to the latest unofficial semi-final election results, the measure received 51.55 percent of the vote, or slightly more than the simple majority needed to pass.
In an interview following the election, a union steward told The Daily News the measure was a "bargaining chip" to influence negotiations for a new contract. But SEIU-UHW spokeswoman Carlyn Foster later said it was intended to bring balance to the way the publicly funded El Camino Hospital District allocates its resources and free up more funding for frontline workers.
Foster referred a request for comment on the board's vote this week to another union member who could not be immediately reached Friday.
Pending the outcome of the lawsuit, which will likely be filed in mid-December, the hospital will keep compensating its executives under their current contracts, according to the statement.
The statement points out that the board conducts "extensive" annual market research to ensure that executives are compensated at the median of national health systems and hospitals similar in size and complexity to El Camino Hospital. The high cost of living in the Bay Area is also considered.
El Camino Hospital CEO Tomi Ryba is among the handful of executives who would be affected by the measure. She draws an annual paycheck of $695,000 but is eligible to receive 30 percent in bonuses. By way of comparison, Gov. Jerry Brown earns $165,000 per year.
"The Hospital Board stands firmly behind our executive team, which has the experience required to deliver the level of health care that this community receives, expects and deserves," the statement says.
"The Hospital Board also believes that, if allowed to stand, Measure M could significantly and negatively diminish the Hospital's ability to attract and retain the talent needed to manage a complex, award-winning, nonprofit providing quality health care in a competitive and rapidly changing health care environment."