TransLink governance gets poor marks: independent review 0
Ian Jarvis, TransLink CEO, discusses how the organization is achieving new efficiencies and doing business differently today, after a period of rapid expansion, TransLink has been focusing on cutting costs, operating efficiently and living within its means. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)
TransLink’s three-pronged governance model — split between the corporate board, mayors and a commissioner — does a worse job than transit systems in four foreign cities, according to an interim review.
Independent consultants gathered feedback from 15 TransLink insiders, including former and current Mayors’ Council chairs, and found there’s a “little bit of a muddle” as to who’s actually in charge.
TransLink governance received two stars or less out of three in having accountability, transparency, responsiveness, clarity of purpose, advocacy and productive relationships.
Ken Cameron, an independent consultant, analyzed the same criteria for Brisbane, Vienna, Stockholm and London and found the foreign systems performed better, ranking between two and three stars on average. He presented the preliminary data to the Mayors’ Council Wednesday.
“The issue is related to the governance board … where we don’t see similar approaches in other parts of the world. From what we’ve talked to people locally, (there’s) a lack of clarity to do with responsibility and a lack of accountability for decision making,” he said.
In London, for example, the mayor’s office is directly in charge of policy. The state government runs Brisbane’s transit. Vienna’s city bureaucrats and its transit company runs planning, with the deputy mayor heading the transport committee. Stockholm County Council controls its system.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said TransLink’s issue revolves around how Victoria controls the majority of the purse strings, responding to a suggestion the Lower Mainland’s transit funding sources are “second to none.”
White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin directed the consultants to prepare a list of previous methods of governing TransLink for review.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, meanwhile, said she’s been told her municipality, despite its growth, would “never get more service” until the city densifies.
Acuere Consulting Inc. is expected to have the full report complete with recommendations and additional cities for comparison about 60 days prior to May’s election.