TransLink’s board of directors cost taxpayers more than half a million dollars last year

Canadian Press / Bayne Stanley

Compensation paid to TransLink’s board of directors cost taxpayers well over half a million dollars last year.

For 2016, combined payments to the board that administers the region’s transit and transportation cost a total $649,000.

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That was up about 13 per cent from a total of $574,916 in 2015, according to a Financial Information Act Filing and Remuneration Report.

The board is made up of 10 directors and one chair, Don Rose, who was paid $100,000 for attending 60 meetings.

That works out to just about $1,700 per meeting.

READ MORE: TransLink’s six-figure salary club grows to 596 people

Directors’ fees and retainers vary depending on how many meetings they attend throughout the year.

Former Vancouver police chief Jim Chu was paid $52,000 for sitting as a director and attending 22 meetings; Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner made $29,000 for attending 10 meetings and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson $31,000 for 12 meetings.

TransLink’s board of directors cost taxpayers more than half a million dollars last year - image

Director Brenda Eaton had the biggest expense bill at nearly $13,000.

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According to TransLink, most of that was to travel to meetings from her home in Victoria.

How she arrived at the meetings, whether by plane or ferry, isn’t clear. Eaton was also the highest paid director at $77,000.

Eaton and Rose finished their terms in 2016 and are no longer on the board.

READ MORE: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says TransLink is paying its executives too much

It’s time to take a close look at what board members are paid and ask, “is it too much,” according to Kris Sims, B.C. director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).

“We need to remind ourselves that every nickel of this comes from ratepayers and taxpayers,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re paying for your SkyTrain ticket, if you’re filling up your car, if you’re paying property taxes in Metro Vancouver, every nickel of these expenses and these salaries and these retainer fees comes out of your wallet.”

In an email, TransLink said the remuneration structure for the board was determined by an independent screening panel in 2008, which looked at pay relative to other organizations.

TransLink said rates for retainers and meetings have not changed since 2008.


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