Broward Health gives Unlimited Paid Time Off (PTO) to Executives

In Broward Health, Corporate Management, Original Content by Dan Lewis2 Comments

The PTO payouts were more than five million dollars ($5,000,000)

Last March, Broward Health’s CEO Beverly Capasso and her executive team unilaterally decided to pay off all accrued employee time for tier 1 and tier 2 employees (about 300 managers), eliminate PTO accruals, and institute a policy of unlimited paid time off (as approved by their managers).  The payouts were more than five million dollars ($5,000,000).

Newly appointed Commissioner Ray Berry discovered staff’s unilateral decision occurred without Board consultation because, as staff argued their decision related to “operations,” was budgeted and thus not in the purview of the Board.

Commissioner Berry wanted to talk about staff’s decision with his colleagues on the Board, so he asked that an agenda item be placed on the next meeting.  The next meeting was the Jun/July regular board meeting scheduled for July 26th, 2018.  When he arrived for the meeting, Commissioner Berry was surprised that the item was not on the agenda so, at the Board Finance Committee meeting held at 9:00 am, he moved that the item again be placed on the agenda for the board meeting scheduled for 3:05 pm that afternoon.

July 26, 2018, Broward Health Finance Committee Meeting Video

And so, at the end of the Jun/July regular Board meeting, there was a remarkably frank, open and professional discussion about the efficacy and provenance of a new policy – and, importantly – why the executive team should inform the Board about new policy initiatives (especially those involving significant cost, or changes in “liquidity”) before enactment.

The PTO policy change at Broward Health is one where reasonable people could differ reasonably – however, the PTO policy enacted by the staff was incomplete and implemented poorly from the perspective of a public fiduciary.  There is little argument that before the implementation of such a dramatic policy change at Broward Health, it should have been brought to the Board’s attention, and the failure to do so was a staff stumble. 

While everyone can have their own opinions, they cannot have their own facts – so, any thoughtful evaluation of the new PTO policy has to start with the facts as we know them.

First, before the new PTO policy, the affected employees accrued their earned time off and sick days at an escalating rate culminating at the daily rate at the time of separation.  Thus, if an employee started at ten dollars ($10.00/hr) per hour and over a period of years reached one hundred dollars ($100.00/hr) per hour any vacation or sick days accrued at the ten dollars per hour rate would be paid out at one hundred dollars per hour.  The financial argument for stopping the accruals is obvious and an appropriate staff financial goal.

Second, before determining the appropriate strategy for stopping the accruals – staff needed to evaluate the policies setting the accruals and some potential strategies to address the issue.  

I do not know what those policies are for Broward Health but in other public organizations, there are many different approaches.  One approach is for accruals to cap out.  Another is for accruals to expire.  In one public organization, the PTO accrual policy was not a policy at all but rather a practice.  In that organization, accruals were simply eliminated by policy.  In another public organization where a union represented the affected employees.  In that organization, accruals were established through negotiation treating new employees according to the no accrual policy and existing and long-term employees could keep and continue to accrue, but at their earning rate at the time of the accrual and not at the time of their separation.

Third, “unlimited Paid Time Off” is misleading and inciting term.  The proponents of the policy would say that the time must be “approved” and is not “guaranteed” and if abused (defined as not getting the job done – whatever that may mean) would result in termination.

Fourth, before changing the previous employment policy based on time to a job/performance standard, there was the necessary step of establishing objective standards for each job/performance and a minimum and maximum salary.  These standards would need to include a minimum performance scorecard as well as the establishment of an appeal process for employees whose manager did not approve of the requested PTO. 

Allegedly some of the PTO payouts were more than many times the annual salary of the average caregiver at Broward Health and a significant hit to the system’s liquidity.  I have requested the list of PTO payments, but I have no idea when or if I will get it.  When I do, I will post, however, the senior executive team of CEO Bev Capasso, Counsel Barrett, COO Gino Santorio and CFO Alan Goldsmith waived their payout to avoid the appearance of impropriety. 

Correction:  Counsel Barrett took her payout.

My sense of this issue is that staff miss-stepped and in so doing lost an opportunity to make additional and important structural changes at Broward Health.   This action was well-meaning but was incomplete and implemented poorly.  It is important to note that, although somewhat ill-advised – financially, the decision was neutral for Broward Health except for its cash liquidity which is not at risk.

Further, I noted that during the open and candid conversations with the Board, senior staff appeared to be open, honest, sincere and complete without either deception or avoidance.  I hope this observation proves to be true because it would be refreshing.

You should note that before Chair Klein and Commissioner Berry, I don’t believe a public discussion would have occurred on this matter.  I am seeing some evidence that Commissioner Wellins appears to be willing to join Commissioner Berry and Chair Klein in some honest, open and effective oversight.  I encourage you to watch the PTO discussion at the end of the Jun/July Board Meeting video. 

Jun/July 2018 Broward Health Meeting – Part 2 Video


  1. I think you missed the point.
    Firstly, the Bev, Gino and Alan did not have significant accruals because they were not employed very long. So they didn’t “waive” anything for any reason. Barrett did lose much because she took a vacation before the policy change.
    Secondly, since the policy change it is widely known that Capasso often does not come to work and rolls in around 10:00 am. Gino really runs the system. 5 million is nothing compared to the millions of their new salary and bonus structures.
    Lastly, this policy change demonstrates the lack of technical knowledge and execution experience of this new team. All they know is what Jackson or Tenet did, but they lack the capacity of the planning, communication and construct of a clear reliable policy.

    1. Author

      Your points are well taken and hard to argue. BTW the article has an update – Barrett took her payout, the others did not.

      With respect to Capasso and Barrett – since they report to the Board, it would be up to the Board to approve any vacation or sick-pay under the ill-thought-out policy. I have reason to believe that the Board will address this with some clarity in the near future.

      As to your final point, I agree – but it’s not “technical” knowledge the team lacks, its something else. They lack top-level mentoring, guidance, and large public organization experience. But they have plenty of talent, they appear honest and I believe they have a genuine enthusiasm and desire to make things work. That is something we can work with.

      Thanks for your comment.

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