Mayors Council chair Richard Walton (District of North Vancouver) and vice-chair Peter Fassbender (Langley City).

Mayors Council chair Richard Walton (District of North Vancouver) and vice-chair Peter Fassbender (Langley City).

Extra pay awaits mayors who take TransLink seats

$60,000 to serve on board 'problematic' for council chair, who also cites time commitment, possible conflict

Two new seats on TransLink’s board of directors that the province has earmarked for the chair and vice-chair of the Metro Vancouver mayors’ council will give them roughly $60,000 in extra pay.

But North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, the council’s chair, says he’s not yet sure he can accept the position, adding the optics of the additional pay is one just one of his concerns.

“That’s problematic,” he said. “An extra $60,000 is more than some mayors in the region make.”

Walton said he’s particularly concerned about stretching himself too thin, noting the duties of a TransLink director are complex and would come on top of his other roles as vice-chair of the Metro Vancouver board and the chair of the the Mayors Council on Regional Transportation, which he said devoured 400 hours of his time last year.

“It’s a time commitment issue,” he said.

Another is whether mayors’ council reps who also serve on TransLink’s board can keep the two sets of duties straight and not find themselves in conflict.

If he decides taking the seat is justified, Walton said he would go only if the mayors’ council votes to send him.

In contrast, vice-chair Peter Fassbender, the mayor of Langley City, said he has no hesitation taking his seat and plans to do so as soon as possible, provided he remains in his role as vice-chair.

“I’m not going there because I’m going to get extra pay,” he said. “I want this to work. I’m prepared to put in the effort.”

Fassbender said he has already been attending most TransLink board meetings for months at the invitation of the board.

“I’ve been putting in the effort without the extra pay because I believe it’s important for the region to do that,” he said.

Fassbender said it’s a valuable chance for better communication between the TransLink board and the mayors, and he doesn’t think the council should wait on taking up the seats until next January, when the chair and vice-chair positions come up for election again.

He rejected suggestions he or Walton would be hamstrung and put in an impossible situation by serving on TransLink, adding he would work to persuade the board to conduct most of its business publicly, not behind closed doors.

The change to TransLink’s legislation giving two board seats to the mayors’ council was unveiled in May by Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom.

Mayors have criticized it as a small step that doesn’t go nearly far enough to address their demands for more control over TransLink spending and priorities.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said he is “totally opposed” to mayors sitting on TransLink with just two token seats, calling it a provincial ploy to “divide and conquer” the mayors.

“This is a sham,” he said. “They are attempting to get a couple of members of the mayors’ council on that board who will then validate the decisions being made and put those mayors in a terrible conflict.”

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, a former chair of the mayors’ council, said she doesn’t see a huge problem sending the chair and vice-chair to TransLink, but cautioned cities must press Victoria for much more meaningful improvements to restore democracy and accountability.

“There’s some value,” Watts said. “But it’s not going to fix the governance issue. So that still has to be addressed.”

TransLink’s appointed board of directors has complete control of the transportation authority’s spending. The mayors’ council can only approve or reject new or increased funding sources to finance service expansion.

Mayors are also paid $500 each time the mayors’ council meets and Walton gets a flat stipend of $5,000 as chair, in addition to payments to serve at Metro Vancouver.

TransLink directors are paid retainers of around $38,000, depending on their duties, and they receive $1,200 per full day board meeting ($600 for half day). The board chair gets a flat $100,000.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP detachment. (Contributed file photo)
RCMP investigating report of shots fired in South Surrey

Police say they have not yet found evidence to confirm incident

Bucketheads – A Star Wars Story is being filmed near the 19000-block of 16 Avenue in South Surrey. (Mychaylo Prystupa photos)
Star Wars fan film ‘Bucketheads,’ shot in South Surrey, makes its debut

Volunteer initiative features new LED screen technology

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
More victims come forward after ‘indecent act’ at Surrey playground

Surrey RCMP is now releasing sketches of the suspect

A proposed 29-storey highrise development in North Delta’s Townline neighbourhood is headed to a public hearing on June 8, 2021. (Penmat Mana JV (Delta) Ltd./City of Delta report image)
North Delta highrise proposal headed to public hearing

Council voted 4-3 Monday (May 10) to move the 29-storey project forward

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program welcomed a new chick in April 2021 after it was artificially incubated for 32 days while still in its egg, hand raised for a week and then returned to owl foster parents Sedin and Amore. Chick B is now settling in at the family nest, which the public can view live online. (Jasmine McCulligh/Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Baby owl welcomed at Langley’s Northern Spotted Owl breeding site

Facility has launched an Adopt-a-Chick fundraiser to help with expenses

Most Read