Eitel managed to scrape by on a salary of $444,412 last year. (He was paid $214 an hour for his stellar work this year, including the time his secretary was ill and he nearly answered his own office phone.) He was the CEO for some five years, and he could have griped and complained about the meager $2.2 million or so that he was paid during that time to the run the hospital. Did I mention that it was the city-owned hospital?
Anyway, Eitel didn't whine. Instead he rolled up the sleeves of his $850 shirt, settled into his $42,000 leather and mahogany chair, hunched over his $235,000 desk (note: I am just making those figures up; I am sure the actual costs were higher) and managed the hospital brilliantly. For example, unpaid bills by patients have tripled during his tenure, soaring to $60 million in 2007. Eitel has refused to discuss the reasons.
Eitel also refused to tell City Council he was retiring, instead using hospital board president Mike Edmonds as his messenger boy. His refusal to talk earned him the nickname "the Marcel Marceau of hospital administration." (My favorite impression by Eitel was of a man stuffing thousand-dollar bills into a suitcase and tip-toeing out of a hospital late at night.)
Also, Eitel, who earlier had been Memorial's chief financial officer for 22 years, claimed last year the hospital underestimated the 2007 budget and demanded nearly $24 million in additional funds to make up the difference. Council members, after picking through each other's hair for about 10 minutes, emitted high-pitched screeches and threw some bananas across the room, thus signaling their approval.
(As to where this $24 million might have gone, Eitel contacted by phone aboard his $24 million yacht "Underestimated Budget" wouldn't comment.)
There is more.
Under Eitel the Financial Wizard, construction of a hospital addition ran $43 million over budget. Eitel told council it was because of "design changes" but would say no more. Council voiced displeasure for a moment but stopped when the Wizard threw some type of dust onto Mayor Lionel Rivera and turned him into a groundhog. (On Feb. 2 Mayor Rivera came out of City Hall and saw his shadow, which means we get six more weeks of excuses why he couldn't beat Doug "Smart as a Sack Full of Hammers" Lamborn in the 2006 congressional primary.)
And this: Last year, Eitel handed over $250,000 to The Broadmoor to help sponsor the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament that will be held at the undocumented-worker slave camp, I mean the lovely resort, this summer. The $250,000 gift gives Memorial Hospital the right to put up a big circus tent and invite friends to come in and get all liquored up. Which is, by the way, not a bad thing if you have to watch old people play golf for four days.
Eitel did not, of course, tell the council or any other city official about the $250,000. His "bosses" found about it later. When they asked why, he more or less told councilors the gift from the city-owned hospital was none of their damn business.
Nor was the fact Eitel's father was a long-time president of The Broadmoor.
And not that it matters, because we've become accustomed to this sort of thing around here, but on Monday when Eitel and his $6,000 pants walked out of Memorial Hospital for the last time, the folks who run our village gave him a little parting gift: a check for $118,624, which he demanded for what he claimed were about 550 hours of "unused sick and vacation time," although nobody can really verify that he had either.
All of which really burns my ass. Although that could be the shoe.
Rich Tosches can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.