The TransLink board of directors and the Mayors’ Council have approved new pay ranges for the transportation agency’s executives.
The new range, approved in closed meetings by the board on July 17 and the Mayors’ Council on July 25, could see TransLink’s top executive eventually pull down more than half a million dollars in salary.
The pay scale change comes after a months-long review of TransLink’s executive compensation plan that included input from an independent consultant.
A similar review was done four years ago.
The new salary range for CEO Kevin Desmond has been set at $406,000 to $517,000. The previous range for his position was $325,000 to $406,000.
Right now Desmond makes $405,000 plus benefits and expenses.
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TransLink board chair Tony Gugliotta said the plan is in line with pay scales at other Canadian transportation organizations.
“This process here is very common to what companies would do when they’re determining their executive compensation plan — they would essentially look at benchmarks, which are companies sort of in the same industry and positions within the same industry,” Gugliotta said.
TransLink says, by comparison, the CEO of Metrolinx, which includes Toronto, Hamilton and suburbs, makes $506,000 and BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins earns $425,000.
But Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. director Kris Sims says the ranges are too high.
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“To have them comparing themselves to other CEOs who are making scads of dough isn’t justifiable. They need to look at their own house and they need to look at how much this is costing,” she told Global News.
“All of this is coming out one way or another from taxpayers and ratepayers and is this good use of our money? We think this is a big, big price tag.”
New pay ranges have also been set for other positions, including chief financial officer and the heads of Coast Mountain Bus Company and BC Rapid Transit Company.
The range for all three positions is $279,000 to $372,000.
These are only ranges and it’s the TransLink board that determines the CEO and other executives’ salaries after annual performance reviews.