Time to elect full-time directors in Metro Vancouver? (Bramham, Vanc. Sun, 18-May-2011)

Isn’t it time to elect full-time directors in Metro Vancouver?
(By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, 18-May 2011)
Fewer directors devoting their full attention to the task might be more valuable than paying part-timers nearly $1 million a year. Full story here.

  • It’s one of the best part-time jobs in the province … maybe even the country. It’s highly influential, well paid with good perks (including international travel) and there’s no accountability to anyone. The job? Director of Metro Vancouver, with responsibility for a budget this year of $607.5 million and a chance to shape regional growth for the next 30 years. How do you apply? You can’t.
  • … Every other director has to first win a seat on their local council. Of course, in a surprisingly large number of municipalities, that only means filing nomination papers since the council and mayoralty positions are uncontested.
  • The top-paid alternate in 2009 was W. Scott Hamilton, who earned $13,340 in salary and racked up $14,631 in expenses. Not bad considering his Delta councillor’s salary is only $28,674.
  • Vancouver’s Tim Stevenson (whose full-time council salary is $57,506) was the top-paid director, with $23,848 in salary and $10,103 in expenses.
  • But best of all? Being selected as chair or vice-chair by the directors in a secret vote.
  • The chair earns $63,220. Even though it’s only part-time work, that is still only slightly less than the region’s median family income. It’s based on 75 per cent of the median gross salary of all the regional mayors.
  • On top of that, Metro’s chair and vice-chair get paid extra just for showing up at meetings.
  • For current chair Lois Jackson, it worked out to $64,371 in 2009. A nice top-up to her $100,523 salary as Delta’s fulltime mayor.
  • What’s astonishing is that the 2009 Metro payroll included 121 individual directors, alternates and committee members.
  • More astounding is that at a time when most other employees received little or no wage increase, Metro’s remuneration to directors and elected officials was hiked to $854,611. That was a 27.8-per-cent increase over 2008 and a 32-per-cent increase over 2007.

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Citizens concerned about public benefits arising from decisions at Vancouver's City Hall.
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