Cuts to TransLink brass trim costs: report

No details on severance payouts released after 10 executives terminated

TransLink terminated 10 senior executives last year as part of its ongoing cost-cutting drive, according to newly released financial disclosures.

The transportation authority would not disclose how much money was paid in severance, but said the payouts ranged from three to 19 months worth of wages.

CEO Ian Jarvis said TransLink has cut its executive ranks in half – from 22 to 11 positions – since 2009, although the full number still on the payroll is 16 when vice-presidents at TransLink subsidiaries Coast Mountain Bus Co. and B.C. Rapid Transit Co. are also counted.

One of the latest senior positions to be chopped was that of Michael Shiffer, the vice-president of policy and planning. Shiffer was recruited from Chicago in 2010 and the disclosures show TransLink paid the $104,000 cost of his relocation here last year before opting to let him go in May.

Jarvis said the cuts to top managers have contributed to overall cost savings of $30 million over the past three years.

The financial report shows 321 TransLink employees earned more than $75,000 in 2011. That’s up from 2010 because more than 100 workers were transferred to TransLink from its Coast Mountain Bus Co. subsidiary.

Many of those earning above the $75,000 reporting threshold are Transit Police constables.

TransLink remains under pressure from its independent commissioner and a provincial audit to find about $50 million in new savings in lieu of fare or property tax increases.

TransLink’s board is still reviewing whether bonuses for executives will be paid out for 2012.

The payouts for 2011 happened earlier this year and any payments for 2012 would happen early in 2013, if approved.

The number of TransLink board and committee meetings were pared in 2011, helping reduce the payouts to directors, who receive $1,200 per full-day meeting or $600 for a half day in addition to retainers of at least $30,000.

The total paid to TransLink’s directors last year was $508,000 and ranged from $46,000 to $54,700 depending on the number of meetings attended.

Board chair Nancy Olewiler received a flat $100,000 stipend.

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