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TransLink tops 'naughty' spending list

By Jane Deacon

Despite promises of a wage freeze, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis earned $29,315 more in pay for a total of $468,015 in 2013. 
(file photo, 24hours)

Despite promises of a wage freeze, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis earned $29,315 more in pay for a total of $468,015 in 2013. (file photo, 24hours)

Whether you make $30,001 per year or $3 million per year, you pay the same for services you may not even consume. - Jordan Bateman

All seven of TransLink’s top executives got a pay raise last year – despite a previous commitment that compensation had been frozen at 2012 levels.

“Every single executive got paid more in 2013 than they did in 2012,” said Jordan Bateman, director of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation. “That is not a pay freeze. That’s a broken promise.”

The padded salaries – combined with a proposed .5% PST hike that would fund TransLink with an additional $250 million annually – put the transit provider at the top of the CTF’s Naughty and Nice List, an annual best and worst review of how politicians and public agencies spent taxpayer dollars.

Also on the naughty side were MLAs Jenny Kwan and Linda Reid, who each came under fire when scrutiny of their expenses found money had been misspent. Kwan paid back nearly $35,000 for a European vacation with her husband, while Reid was on the hook for $5,528, spent flying her husband to South Africa.

Premier Christy Clark made both sides of the list – “naughty” for Medical Services Premium hikes, which have cost the average family an additional $36 per month since 2010, and “nice” for tackling municipal labour costs.

An independent review, commissioned by the provincial government, revealed that municipal employees’ salaries had grown by 38% in 11 years – doubling increases for provincial employees.

Clark did not shy away from the stats, said Bateman, raising the issue at the Union of BC Municipalities.

Whistler’s civic politicians, who did not raise property taxes in their last term, and the federal government’s First Nations Financial Transparency Act also made the “nice” list. Bateman credits the act with the electoral defeat of a Shuswap First Nation chief and councillor earning more than $200,000 tax-free and providing the younger generation with a road map of how money can be spent well.

“We’re actually seeing real substantive change in many reserves, which is excellent,” he said. 

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