TransLink Mayors’ Council, board to review executive salaries

TransLink’s Mayors’ Council and board of directors are expected to form a committee next month to review executive pay.

The transit authority has five senior executives: the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer and executive vice-president of finance and corporate services, the heads of the B.C. Rapid Transit Company and the Coast Mountain Bus Company, and the chief of Transit Police.

Their combined salaries totalled just over $1.5 million in 2017.

In the summer, the Mayors’ Council, in a closed meeting, decided to set up the committee with representatives from the council and the board of directors to review the executive compensation plan, which has not been updated since 2015.

Mayors’ Council executive director Mike Buda said best practices suggest that such a plan should be reviewed every three years.

It was expected that the committee would be struck this month, but it will likely be chosen in December and start work immediately. The committee will bring its amended plan to the board and Mayors’ Council by the end of the first quarter of 2019, and any changes will be effective Jan. 1, 2019.

“They may come back and say nothing should be changed, or recommend changes,” said Buda. “It’s up to the new Mayors’ Council to decide whether to accept those changes.”

If there are changes and they are approved, the board of directors has final say over how much executives will be paid, within the approved ranges.

In 2017, CEO Kevin Desmond was the highest paid senior executive, with a salary of $407,311, plus benefits and expenses.

Vivienne King, who was president and general manager of the B.C. Rapid Transit Company, was paid $316,267. She left the company this year and Haydn Acheson has been named interim president and general manager. Acheson was president and general manager of Coast Mountain Bus Company in 2017 — he has been replaced by Michael McDaniel — and paid $289,191. Then-chief financial officer and executive vice-president of finance and corporate services Cathy McLay — who has since been replaced by Rob Malli — was paid $304,043.

Former Transit Police chief Doug LePard received a salary of $209,635 in 2017. Barry Kross is the interim chief.

Compared to CEOs at other major transit authorities, Desmond is relatively well compensated. However, direct comparisons are difficult, as transit agency responsibilities vary from place to place.

In 2017, then Toronto Transit Commission CEO Andrew Byford was paid a salary of $346,791. The TTC serves a population of about 2.8 million.

Ottawa’s general manager of transportation, Jon Manconi, who is responsible for OC Transpo, made a salary of $269,231 in 2017. OC Transpo serves about 875,000 people. The 2018 pay range for Calgary Transit’s director is $155,500 to $240,000.

Rob Gannon, the general manager of King County Metro, where Desmond worked before TransLink, made US$193,634 in 2017.



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