Executive pay rises again at TransLink

Most bonuses for TransLink brass converted to pay increases, but CEO retains short-term incentives

TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis collected total compensation of nearly $470

Top TransLink executives were all paid more overall in 2013 despite recent claims that the transportation authority had frozen management salaries and ended bonuses.

TransLink’s financial information filing shows CEO Ian Jarvis received total compensation of $468,015 in 2013, an increase of seven per cent from 2012.

In addition to $83,700 from two types of bonuses paid to him in 2013, Jarvis got a three per cent raise in base pay to $319,244 to partly compensate him for the elimination of his long-term bonus plan.

The long-term incentive plan, a condition of his contract when he took over in 2009, promised him a bonus of up to 20 per cent based on his performance over the three years from 2010-2012.

As with Jarvis, other TransLink executives got a lift in base pay of 2.4 to 6.4 per cent at the start of 2013 to compensate for the elimination of their short-term bonus programs going forward.

It added up to total 2013 compensation of around $380,000 for chief operating officer Doug Kelsey and chief financial officer Cathy McLay, while four other subsidiary presidents or division vice-presidents received between $310,000 and $330,000.

Those executives’ short-term bonuses ranged from $17,000 to $32,000.

TransLink spokesperson Colleen Brennan said confusion about executive compensation stems from the timing of when the bonuses were earned and paid out.

She said the now-eliminated bonuses earned in 2012 still had to be paid in 2013, but they will disappear in subsequent years.

As a result, she said, most executives’ total compensation for 2014 will drop $20,000 to $40,000 compared to 2013 numbers when it’s reported next year.

The exception, Brennan said, is CEO Jarvis, who still gets a short-term bonus that has not been eliminated.

In addition to his short-term bonus, which was worth $40,300 last year, Jarvis is still due to receive two-thirds of his accrued long-term bonus in future years – it’s spread over three years and the 2013 payout was just the first installment.

Board chair Marcella Szel told TransLink’s annual general meeting in May that all bonuses had been eliminated and executive pay had been frozen at 2012 levels.

“A lot of taxpayers would be happy to take that kind of pay freeze,” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who accused Szel of misleading the public. “This is their own mess. They made the promise and they’ve broken it.”

He also flagged the jump in the number of TransLink staff collecting six-figure paycheques – 434 staffers were paid $100,000 or more in 2013 compared to 393 in 2012 – as further evidence of an out-of-control payroll.

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