Friday, November 06, 2009

Off with Their Gigantic Inflated Heads: BC Liberal Appointees Bleeding Taxpayers Dry

“The relevant talents of the guy that Gordon Campbell's appointees have hired to run BC's ferry fleet appear to lie mainly in breaking up and selling off a major transportation company's assets.”
[The Troubled Company Reporter ; Georgia Straight Dec 18/03]

The Queen had it right "Off with their Heads" only I would add with their Greedy Egomaniac heads. Well, the latest audits are in. Great work on the part of Comptroller General Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland in exposing the monumental waste of tax payer dollars on the salaries of the Transportation Kings.

But, lets be clear, this latest bombshell (not) is laid, as usual, at the BC Liberals feet. They picked their henchmen, they filled the boards and they waved goodbye to our taxpayer funds, while many of us waved goodbye to adequate transportation services.

But - it's not like any of this is new News. It's been reported before what these scoundrels were doing on the public dime:

On April 1st , the BC Ferry Authority Board of Directors gave themselves a retroactive $233,000 pay hike on top of salaries and bonuses totaling $730,000 for attending meetings to increase fares and vote themselves pay raises. [Vancouver Sun Apr 16/08; Hansard Apr 15/08]

And what did Kevin Falcon, then Minister of Transportation have to stay to taxpayers: "Boo hoo."

Who on earth has ever heard of such a flagrant conflict of interest (and violation of the public interest) to have some of the same members sitting on the board that would set the salaries for themselves?

What layer of hell do these people spring from and how do they actually look at themselves in the mirror each day and not know what gigantic failures they are as protectors of BC's public good? At least everyone else now knows it too. Sorry excuses. I'd be hanging my head in shame if I were named as part of something like this - but, guess what, I WOULDN"T EVER FIND MYSELF DOING THIS TO THE TAXPAYERS OF BC. If you asked most taxpayers about this, I think they would say "nice gig, how do I get a sweet deal like this to pick my own salary? But seriously, ask ten random people on the street and they would get what a crappy deal this is for those of us who have to actually PAY THEM.

Read about 'em and weep at what they've been getting away with at our expense
(bye bye Health care system...):

BC Ferry Services Inc. Board of Directors

BC Ferry Authority
Board of Directors

Translink: Proudly & Openly Screwing Taxpayers for Years

It's also been reported that Translink is completely unaccountable. Like that is news.

TransLink Pay Scale Raises Eyebrows in BC
CBC News. February 8, 2008.

Directors of the Greater Vancouver transit authority have raised eyebrows by voting to award themselves a hefty pay package.

Behind closed doors and without issuing a press release, the TransLink board approved a wage scale that pays six times more than what the previous board was being paid to do similar work.

News of the increases come after the B.C. Ministry of Transportation restructured the TransLink board last year, replacing elected directors with appointed ones.


What to Do: Housecleaning is the Only Way to Go:

The best way for efficiencies to be made is start cutting at the top and work their way down, chop, chop, chop of the Boards. I think a few million can be found chopping the exorbitant, unsustainable salaries of these BC Liberal appointees who've been sucking taxpayers dry as taxes and fees were raised for the citizens of BC just to get basic transportation, if they even have that anymore.

So, Monday, what can we expect from Hahn? What can we expect from the government? Prendergrast has made it easy for the province by already bowing out and heading back to NY. I think there must be some sort of ferry fleet Emperor Hahn could find to tear apart back in his home state of New Yawk, or somewhere else.

It's pretty clear, the taxpayers of BC can't afford these free-wheelin', high-life livin' Emperors anymore. Hello, remember - ECONOMIC CRISIS. If that's what all of us non-Royals have to deal with, then so can these folks.

Major BC Ferries and TransLink reforms needed: report Video
CBC News.

The top levels of both BC Ferries and TransLink require a major restructuring to give them more accountability, greater transparency and better oversight, B.C.'s comptroller general says.

Senior Ferries Staff Overpaid: Labour Relations Expert
Rob Shaw and Ann Hui, Times Colonist
. July 30, 2009.

"Taxpayers can't, like shareholders in a private business, protest or sell shares in B.C. Ferries if they're unhappy with the way it's run. We don't have that choice as taxpayers," he said [Ken Thornicroft, professor of law and labour relations with the University of Victoria's business school].

Ferries CEO David Hahn receives more than $1 million a year in salary and benefits. His four vice-presidents each earn around $500,000 a year, bringing the senior management total to more than $3 million a year.

Follow the disappearing dollars, to find out what this was all really about, anyone noticing a theme about disappearing Crown lands (BC Ferries, BC Rail...)
from William Thomas:

On April 2, 2003, Kevin Falcon and the Minister of Land and Water quietly signed documents transferring all BC Ferry crown land, foreshore, water lots, terminals, berths and parking lots to the BC Transportation Financing Authority in exchange for a $330 million promissory note. The BCTFA immediately turned around and charged the Campbell government $330 million for a 60-year lease on the berths and terminals just transferred to it.

So the newly formed and heavily indebted BC Ferry Services Inc. handed back BCTFA's $330 million to lease the facilities it had owned just seconds ago. Presto! What had been public crown land was now owned by the newly hatched BC Transportation Financing Authority.

BC Ferries ended up with an insupportable debt that was soon to quadruple under a massive and long overdue modernization of ships and shore facilities that could best be carried out by the provincial government. But not after this bookkeeping flim-flam that removed government liability to what it called an “arms-length” distance that left taxpayers liable for any payback shortfalls.

By holding all but one voting share of the company, the province now owned a private company called BC Ferry Services. To insure that the BC government could not “interfere” with what is no longer a provincial ferry fleet, this voting share was handed to the newly created BC Ferry Authority, which controls the new BC Ferry Service through its Board of Directors. As the Ferry Authority explains on its website, “By its structure, the Authority ensures the operations of BC Ferries are independent from the provincial government.” []

TransLink eyes $18M tax hike for Metro Vancouver residents

TransLink is facing an $18-million budget shortfall and residential property owners may be asked to pick up the tab for the transit authority.

TransLink, the regional transit authority, used to be run by a board made up of regional mayors and councillors. But in March 2007, B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon announced sweeping changes to TransLink.

The former board was replaced by a government-appointed board of professionals — accountants, lawyers and engineers who govern day-to-day operations — and by a council of 30 mayors to look at long-term planning.

One of the first moves of the new board was to hold a vote behind closed doors to give themselves pay raises without any public notice, raising their pay to more than six times what the previous board was paid.

TransLink head departs for new job in NYC
CBC News.

Finance official offers fixes for Ferries, TransLink :: The Hook

Andrew MacLeod.

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