TransLink commissioner prepares to ‘fade off into the sunset'
The transit authority’s watchdog, Bob Irwin, says his office has done some good work, but he’s expecting to step down after provincial changes are passed.
"(My future) that’s up to the Mayors’ Council, I guess. According to the act, I just fade off into the sunset."
— Bob Irwin, TransLink commissioner
TransLink commissioner Bob Irwin is expecting he’ll soon “fade off into the sunset” with Bill 22 changes to the transit provider’s governance that would shift his responsibilities over to regional mayors.
He told 24 hours his office has done some good work as a watchdog, such as keeping fares low and calling out TransLink when plans aren’t fully funded.
“I think some of the things we did were quite remarkable,” Irwin said, referring to how his office rejected a proposed 12.5% fare increase in 2012.
He also pointed to his recently published review of TransLink’s 2013 plan and outlook, where he concluded TransLink had found considerable savings and ended last year with a surplus.
“We were an oversight body that held TransLink to account, that’s a power that passes to the Mayors’ Council,” Irwin said.
He also expects the existing funding for the office would be sufficient to be split among the region’s mayors and their work in the future.
Irwin said funding available to the commissioner’s office typically exceeds $450,000 — taken from .2% of TransLink’s fare box revenue — but the office does not usually exceed about half that in expenses.
“There’s ample money there for the Mayors’ Council to take over the role of the commissioner,” he said.
“This was never a full-time position, we hired consultants on an as-needed basis to assist us. We ran a pretty mean and lean operation.”
It should be noted that the commissioner’s position had a per diem fee of $103,839 in 2012 — the latest available year — which resulted in total expenditures of $360,261.