Thursday, September 4, 2014

TransLink Executive Compensation Reality Check

It seems that a month doesn’t go by without our favorite anti-tax group trying to bring down TransLink. With their relentless attacks against transit in our region, I believe this group won’t be satisfied until we are all stuck in traffic with no transit service.

The latest attack against TransLink was around its 2013 executive and board compensation. It’s always easy to get people upset about executive compensation because the numbers appear large.

By attacking top-level compensation, it is implied that vast sums of money are going to pay for executives and board members, while other service suffers. Is this really the case?

TransLink 2013 Total Expenses with a Focus on Executive and Board Member Compensation. Select graph to enlarge.

TransLink’s 2013 executive and board member compensation was $3.1 million. TransLink is a $1.4 billion organization. $3.1 million represents 0.2% of its total operation expenses. To put that into context, $3.1 million dollar is about how much it costs to run the 320 bus route for one year.

So even if you got rid of all executives and boards (which you wouldn’t do), the money save would be insignificant.

While it is good to ensure that compensation at TransLink is in line with other billion dollar plus agencies, attacking executive compensation really distracts from the main issue. Our transit system does not have the revenue to meet existing demand or expand service in areas like the South of Fraser.

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