May 17, 2018 7:30 am

Should citizens have a say in ‘transition allowances’ for parting B.C. mayors? The Taxpayers Federation thinks so

Global News File

Retiring mayors of at least two Metro Vancouver cities will get so-called ‘transition allowances’ once they leave office in the fall.

City of North Vancouver’s Darrell Mussatto says he’ll get a percentage of his salary.

He says it’s something that was brought in by council about 20 years ago.

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Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore will get up to $50,000 — one month’s pay for every year served for a maximum of six months.

“If I didn’t have a transition allowance literally ten days after the election, I would not have a paycheck anymore. I have a mortgage, I have a family and I personally don’t think that’s fair to ask people to go through that if they’re serving their community,” Moore said.

“As a politician, we are not covered under the employment standards act, so we don’t have any of the rights that every other employee does in this province. So, we do have to look after our own remuneration.”

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver board to reconsider $15K retirement allowance

Moore says the allowance was passed by council about seven years ago, and he voted in favour.

“I think we need to have a conversation about how we look at local government officials,” he said.

“If we want to ensure we are trying to attract the best, and we want to attract people who are mid-career, then we need to have these conversations about transition allowances, about pay, about compensation.”

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He also said a transition allowance isn’t that unusual.

“There are a handful of local governments that have this within Metro Vancouver, I think we also need to look at what the transition allowance is for an MLA, which I believe is 18 months and similar for an MP.”

B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Kris Sims agrees the allowances should be a point of discussion.

“Are we prepared to have federal-style compensation packages and transition allowances being implemented at the municipal and city level? I think that’s a conversation that we’re going to have to have.”

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver board members voted to give themselves a retirement allowance of up to $15,000

Sims also said it should be taxpayers deciding on the allowances and not politicians.

“It sounds like a lot of money, so I think that’s something we need to ask taxpayers. Maybe we should have a plebiscite about it, maybe they should ask that question in the next election,” she said.

“Once this gets started it’ll become standard and it will become established across Metro Vancouver’s different areas.”

Sims says she questions whether those ‘choosing’ to leave office should be given such an allowance, as opposed to those who ‘lose’ an election.

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