As usual, Globe 2014 was well planned and executed. However, the session organized by metro Vancouver titled: “The National Zero Waste Council: Advancing a Waste Prevention and Reduction Agenda in Canada” was disappointing and made me reflect on the sponsor of that session, Metro Vancouver, which keeps expanding its services and generously reward municipal politicians and its CEO at the taxpayers account. The cozy relationship between the CEO and the board, enabled him to run it as a privately owned corporation. On its website, you cannot find any information about its operational costs, or who works there and their remuneration as conventionally done by corporation owned by the taxpayers.
METRO VANCOUVER is NOT the CITY OF VANCOUVER. It used to be called, Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). For some mysterious reasons, CEO, Johnny Carline decided to change its name to Metro Vancouver. A member of the board could tell us how much money has been wasted to undertake this effort, but none of them would be available. They are away on a trip to discover how tourist destinations in Europe incinerate their garbage. The most recent figures I could find about travel cost of an Honorable Board member was about David Cadman, an ex-Councilor at the City of Vancouver, who charged GVRD $8,358 in travel expenses in one year, over and above his benefits. Last figure I could find for the salary of the CEO was in 2006 in Georgia Straight. It was over $250,000 plus perks (http://www.straight.com/news/cadman-tops-list).
Metro Vancouver is a utility company funded by municipal taxes to manage water supply, wastewater treatment and disposal, solid waste disposal, and air quality management for member cities, but over the years it has been expanding its activities in areas foreign to its purpose, such as 911 services (I am not joking).
Upon winning a municipal election, councilors/mayors become qualified expert to set no the board of Metro Vancouver, although they do not have the technical or management expertise to qualify for corporate governance for such a huge, sophisticated engineering operation. They cannot be impartial because they have vested interest for a financial reward offered by the same CEO whom they are supposed to oversee his performance.
If becoming a board member is part of their job, why would they get paid twice: Once from the city and from Metro Vancouver (http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/remuneration/Pages/default.aspx) For example, the Chair of the Board, Greg Moore, is paid a salary of more than $90,000 a year from the City of Coquitlam. In addition, he gets another $90,000 as the Chair of Metro Vancouver board. If being the Chair is not part of his job as a mayor, he should not do it because he is hired FULL-TIME to serve his city. The law does not allow a mayor to moonlight in another job. If that is part of his job, why would he be paid another $90,000 + perks plus a fee for attending the meetings? Doesn’t this look like triple dipping? The same applies to other councilors on the board (http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/remuneration/Pages/default.aspx).
Because they are technically inept to evaluate the operation, they have to put their trust in the CEO whom they are supposed to oversee his performance.
To get rid of ambiguity, Metro Vancouver should return to its old name Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).
Metro Vancouver should have a non-political professional board of directors qualified to oversee its operations. It will be held accountable to the member cities and makes operation of metro Vancouver becomes an arm’s length from the politicians.
Like any corporation funded by taxpayers, Metro Vancouver should report on its website who works there and their remunerations, and where their money is spent. It is time to stop wasting our municipal taxes and get municipal politicians do their job and stop moonlighting at Metro Vancouver, I meant the GVRD.