When the public found out that nine TransLink executives could possibly split a $300,000 bonus, reaction from local politicians was swift.
"It just speaks to the larger picture, whether it's bonuses, fare evasions, noncollection of fines, non-collection of tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge, there are a number of issues here that need to be dealt with," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.
Executives at TransLink, whose wages are paid by taxpayers, are entitled to a bonus of 15 per cent of their annual earnings if they meet certain targets for the transportation authority. According to recent financial reports, TransLink executives each earned more than $200,000 in 2010.
Premier Christy Clark has also openly criticized the bonus system.
This is just the latest butting of heads between mayors and TransLink, however.
Last week, regional mayors said they would consider cancelling new transit improvements if they are forced to pay for them by raising property taxes. This could include cancellation of new rapid buses, which would serve Langley and Surrey as well as another serving along King George Boulevard from Surrey to White Rock.
According to Watts, any decision like this would have to wait for a report from the commissioner set to be released next week.
"We'll have that discussion at the mayors' council. The commissioner will be coming out with a report to the mayors' council next week and they will make a decision then on how to move forward," Watts said.
TransLink is currently undergoing an audit to assess efficiencies within the organization. It was called for by a number of mayors and ordered by the provincial government.
"We've had the comptroller general do a small audit of TransLink [in the past] and there were recommendations that came out of that but not many were followed or implemented," said Watts.
Clark believes that the audit may find the $30 million needed for the budget.
Watts admits that the relationship with the mayors' council and the TransLink board needs to be strengthened so that these issues can be resolved.
"We just have to roll up our sleeves, the province and TransLink and the mayors' council, and figure out how to move forward because right now it is not working," she said.
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