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Feb 9,2008 Vancouver Sun


Linda Nguyen, Canwest News Service

Published: Saturday, February 09, 2008

Members of a newly established TransLink board of directors will be paid $1,200 per meeting, a whopping $1,000 more than what directors were paid last year.

But Mike Harcourt, a former B.C. premier who chaired the independent advisory committee that decided on the pay hike, said the new wage reflects the calibre of the new board.

Harcourt said a structural change at TransLink justified the increase.

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The outgoing 12 members on the board were mayors and councillors from throughout the Lower Mainland.

The new board, which came into effect Jan. 1, is now made up of executives and experts from the fields of transportation, engineering, construction, and finance.

"You can't really compare the two salaries," Harcourt said Friday. "The old board was made up of mayors and council members whose responsibility was to be on the board. Now, we have people whose sole responsibility is to make sure that they can provide the best transit advice possible."

The nine members of the board will sit at least six times this year in an effort to kick-start an aggressive billion-dollar transportation plan the province announced last month.

Harcourt said the new meeting pay structure was determined by comparing the board members' salaries to other similar boards like the one at the Vancouver Airport Authority.

"The compensation we're giving the members is similar and suitable to what the airport authority is giving," he said.

Harcourt added that one can argue the salary might even be low because the TransLink board is responsible for a $1-billion operation whereas the airport authority only has a spending budget of $100 million.

Ken Hardie of TransLink, said the authority had no control over the pay increase. "The members did not vote on a pay increase themselves," he said. "The province determines the new structure and pay."

Canwest News Service

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