TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond at a January 2016 meeting. (Black Press Media files)

Taxpayer group questions new salary ranges for TransLink executives

Kris Sims argues TransLink CEO out-earns Justin Trudeau, John Horgan

A taxpayers group is calling out TransLink executives for their “sky-rocketing salaries.”

In a Thursday news release, the B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation asked “why are the people who are running a regional bus board in Metro Vancouver getting paid more than the prime Minister of a G7 country, the premier of our province, and potentially soon more than the head of New York City’s transit system?”

Kris Sims pointed to TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond, who made $410,085, plus $40,000 in pension contributions, in 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earned $357,800 that same year, while Premier John Horgan made $210,945.

Sims’ concerns come as TransLink approved higher pay ranges for its top executives on Wednesday, following a months-long review.

The review updated salary ranges for various executive positions and put the CEO salary range from $406,634 to $517,443.

The document states that compensation for the CEO and other executives was frozen from 2013 to 2016, with incentive plans eliminated in 2013 and car and parking allowances nixed in 2016.

“In 2017, TransLink executives lagged market comparators by an average of 16 per cent,” the document reads.

Sims said that Desmond makes noticeably more than the New York City Transit Authority CEO, who earned about $325,000 last year.

However, Desmond makes less than the CEO of Metrolinx, the transit system for the Greater Toronto Area. Over there, CEO Phil Verster rakes in $518,855.

TransLink said it used 29 comparable public sector organizations to come up with its salary ranges. This included Metrolinx, BC Transit, BC Ferries and the YVR Airport Authority.

ALSO READ: TransLink estimates the entire Surrey-Langley SkyTrain route would cost $3.12 billion

ALSO READ: Metro Vancouver mayors vote for SFU Burnaby gondola to head to public consultation


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