It’s been almost two years since the chief financial officer position at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. became vacant but efforts to hire a qualified individual remains unsuccessful.
Interim corporation CEO Esther Muña confirmed yesterday that nobody has been permanently appointed to the position yet.
Muña disclosed that they received 32 applications so far for the CFO position, several from off-island.
The corporation lost its CFO in 2012 after Alvaro Santos’ contract expired. Since then, Cora Ada has been serving the position in an acting capacity.
Based on the job announcement made available to both local and off-island applicants, the corporation proposes a two-year contract with a salary offer ranging from $100,000 to $150,000 per annum. The applicant should have at least a master’s degree in business administration and five years of experience in healthcare finances.
A CFO reports to the CEO and has direct responsibility for receipt of all revenues and payment of funds. The interim CEO, for now, is paid $96,000 per annum.
CHCC board chair Joaquin Torres disclosed to Saipan Tribune yesterday that the CFO position is among the key posts that the board wants filled this year. The update on recruitment, he said, will be among the items to be discussed on Thursday.
Torres said the delay in the appointment of a hospital CFO was the result of an earlier decision to have the Inos administration handle the recruitment of both CEO and CFO for the corporation.
The governor earlier pledged to pay for the first year salary of both positions in consideration of the CHCC’s financial constraints. This recruitment effort, however, failed to bring aboard any candidate because of the “high salary demand” of off-island candidates.
“At this time, we’re not yet sure if the governor is still committed to shouldering the salary of the CFO because we haven’t had a meeting with him on this issue. But the CHCC board remains firm in our goal to hire a permanent CFO even if it means paying for his or her salary,” said Torres yesterday.
When asked if the corporation can afford to offer an annual salary of up to $150,000 for the CFO, Torres said the amount may be “too stiff a price” for the corporation.
“But I am pretty sure that we can bring in a qualified CFO for $100,000 or less,” he said, admitting that some board members are already impatient over the snail’s pace in hiring a CFO.
In December, Torres disclosed that there were 30 applicants for the positions and that many meet the statutory requirements of the job.
Besides the CFO, another key vacant position is the nursing director, which was vacated by Leticia Reyes in January.
Muña told Saipan Tribune that there’s so far one application received for the post and recruitment will continue until it is filled.