Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is running B.C. Ferries really a $940,000 a year job?

The provincial government announced a review of the operations of B.C. Ferries and TransLink yesterday.
If you're wondering about the timing, Jordan Bateman at notes that the ferry corporation filed its report on executive compensation this week, revealing CEO David Hahn received $940,000 in base bay and bonuses, plus another $96,000 in pension contributions. The pay was approved by the board, which is appointed by the government. Read Hansen's comments and the details here.


Anonymous said...

and here I was thinking that these "reviews" were all a little political gamesmanship inside the BC Liberal caucus...

Transportation Minister Shirley Bond (or was it Finance Minister Colin Hansen - tagteam perhaps?) finds a nice clean way to stab previous Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon in the back with two, yes 2, investigations into Falcon's old lair... nice set-up for the coming leadership race.

Will the full Wenezenki-Yolland reviews be made public, or will we only see a sanitized summary?

Norman Farrell said...

I suppose Mr. Hahn's $500,000+ bonuses and extras would have been higher except for steadily falling traffic, rising fares, continuing losses and, oh yes, those German constructed gas guzzlers that are parked while older made in BC ships haul traffic with less fuel cost.

Yeah, in this situation, success would have been damn expensive.

Anonymous said...

Let’s not kid ourselves. This type of absurdity exists at ALL levels of Government. It is obscene. Look at the growth of six figure salaries at the local government level. Provincial Government “Deputy Ministers $ 200K – $ 300 K and up. Same story with the feds. But there is zero accountability. These people get increases all of the time regardless of performance.

I think on the whole Hahn has done a good job; however the last year it’s clear that BC Ferries is not responding well to the economic situation. If you keep raising fares and loosing passengers as a result of those increased fares and then raising fares again to offset those passengers you just lost…this seems an unsustainable business practice to me.

Yet when it comes to health care the government seems to understand the concept of “unsustainable” but just not when it applies BC Ferries.

Same story for Translink; they are $5 Million in the hole and still the “top people” are raking in $200-$300 a year regardless of the fact they are doing a lousy job. Mind you it’s no different in the Health Authorities everybody at the top cashes in but no accountability. Blow your budget, have decreased performance and you still get your “bonus” or you get fired and today that really means they let you say you quit so you take your incompetence elsewhere and in spite of “quitting” you still get a $ 300K or more golden handshake. Now we are told this is “standard public sector executive practice” this is a sad and pathetic joke.

Dawn Steele said...

In the US, the economic crisis prompted a major public outcry over corporate compensation. In Canada, the tough economic times seem to be creating a cross-country public backlash over public sector pay and benefits.

The downturn has just highlighted the growing gap between compensation and job security for average joes who work in and out of government in Canada, and these sorts of revelations fuel the resentment of taxpayers who are footing the bill while struggling to keep their own lives together.

In BC, where we're facing cuts to the government services we depend on like health and social services, plus hefty new taxes like the carbon tax and HST, plus the lingering resentment over obsene pay raises for the top layers of government, we can expect that sensitivity to be even greater, especially if job losses continue with a slow recovery.

I think this government may have a major problem on its hands unless it adopts the line that the recession is far worse than previously thought and thus justifies a big deficit. They've waited a bit too late to sell that, though, with others claiming the recession to be over.

wstander said...

Anonymous at 10:45 BC Ferries is a private sector company thanks to the Libs. That probably explains the 1 million- it would be less if it was still a crown corporation.

Gazetteer said...


A million total annual compensation....


Wonder what that coming golden parachute is going to cost us?


DPL said...

I agree with the professor of Business who says to attempt to connect these guys to private industry rates if BS. Im private Industy if a guy screws up the Stockholders dump him really quickly. In BC Ferries the only investors/ stockholders and the tax payers of BC and we all allowed only to shake our heads in disgust

wstander said...

DPL said...
I agree with the professor of Business who says to attempt to connect these guys to private industry rates if BS. Im private Industy if a guy screws up the Stockholders dump him really quickly.

Right. Where have you been for the last year? It was the private sector and its bonuses and obscene compensation packages, often related to apparent short term shareholder value, while running the companies into the ground, that produced the present recession.

We can thank the private sector malarkey, along withe the discredited Efficient Markets Hypothesis for most of the present economic pain.