Officials mum about departure of UK HealthCare's top financial officer

lblackford@herald-leader.comOctober 8, 2012 

UK HealthCare's top financial officer is gone, but UK officials won't comment on why Sergio Melgar is no longer there after eight years on the job.

UK HealthCare CEO Michael Karpf announced Melgar's departure in a brief email message to hospital employees in late September. On Friday evening, the UK Board of Trustees met in executive session to discuss an unidentified personnel matter but did not take any action, spokesman Jay Blanton said.

According to documents obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader under the Kentucky Open Records Act, Melgar was unhappy with his salary. On Jan. 1, he wrote a memo to Kim Wilson, associate vice president of human resources, to say that his salary was below market rates.

Melgar was hired in 2004 from UCLA, where Karpf also worked before coming to Kentucky. He made $330,000 at the time he was hired. In 2011, he made $479,000.

In his memo, Melgar said a compensation review report from 2010 said he should have been making $533,000 for his work at UK HealthCare. The report compared salaries at UK HealthCare to similarly sized medical institutions.

Blanton said UK officials would not comment on personnel matters. Efforts to reach Melgar for comment were unsuccessful.

UK HealthCare generated roughly $900 million in revenue last year. It is in the middle of a large and costly rebuilding of its properties, and this year it has borrowed $87 million from UK's academic side.

Melgar's departure leaves UK with another big personnel hole to fill. President Eli Capilouto already is trying to fill the two top jobs on the academic side of campus: an executive vice president for finance and administration, and a provost.

In addition, Mark Kornbluh, dean of the UK College of Arts and Sciences, is a finalist for a provost position at the University of Nevada-Reno.

Linda Blackford: (859) 231-1359. Twitter: @lbblackford.

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