Is this the reason for closed door meetings?

Good morning – nice to be back on the blog!  Every once in a while my brain needs a break from the daily grind, hence the uncustomary three day lag in posts over the weekend.

The talk of the weekend seems to be the enormous raise voted on and approved by the new and often questioned Translink Board, a raise that roughly equates to 500%.  http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/02/08/bc-translink.html  

I’ve heard two versions, I’ll leave you to decide what is true. One is that the board had no choice in the raise(I’ve heard that before), that it was something that they had to accept because  it was not initiated by themselves . The other version is that it was brought to them , they voted on it and  did approve it themselves.  I heard Mike Harcourt on CKNW trying to justify why it was done and in my opinion he only succeeded in insulting the credentials and intelligance of the previous board by saying that this new board “was professional” and brought to the table the kind of talent they needed. Does this mean the old, elected board were unprofessional and un-talented , or downright dumb? Or does he really mean that they need to pay these new bigwigs the kind of money they privately promised them to take the positions.

Its a well-known bit of gossip that the entire selection process was more than a bit dubious, and downright laughable when it comes to proper representation for all the communities at hand.  http://thetyee.ca/Views/2007/12/17/Busjacked/

As a transit user myself, I’m not convinced that this board will do anything but assist  and complete the political agendas of those who “run” it . Why else would the new board have a closed door policy? Isnt this board making decisions using tax-payers dollars, that impact tax-payers lives ? Yet, here we remain in dark silence until something is released – or leaked.

That’s democracy for you – a la Gordon Campbell.

4 Comments on “Is this the reason for closed door meetings?

  1. You should Call Gordon Campbell by his real Name . His Real name is Gordon Swindelman head of a regime that is leading British Columbia into a Police State.

  2. 500% or not, you could not convince me to to sit on this ‘board’. It is a totally non-winnable situation. Lots of input, lots of solutions, lots of experts, lots of talking heads, NIMBY, etc. You cannot please everybody.

  3. Let’s clear something up…the new Board did not approve its compensation. The payments to the Board were prescribed by the Screening Panel and the only action the Board took, which it was directed to take, was to include the schedule of compensation into their official ‘articles.’

    I think one of the reasons why all of this is hard for people to accept (and nobody can argue with them for feeling this way) is the idea that TransLink is a transit company. It isn’t. It is a very large planning and financing authority that will be responsible for some of the largest infrastructure programs in the province’s history,where the ability to shave one or two per cent off of a project will save the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The new Board was selected based on their ability to do this…not on their knowledge of transit operations.

    In the future, TransLink will probably be as much into property development as it is into transit now. It will be the single biggest force at the region’s disposal to manage and shape growth.

    This is maybe a bit hard to visualize now, but watch for it as it happens.

    Ken

  4. Thank you for the clarification Ken. And yes, it appears visualization is exactly what the public will need to rely on, with such a private aspect to the meetings now.

    I understand your representation on how these people were selected, and why. However, the fact that this board has little working transit knowledge doesnt exactly inspire confidence within the public.

    Saving some money here and there- when its taxpayers dollars – is appropriate, and commendable, but so far the closed door policy coupled with this tremendous pay raise gives the impression that the publics interest may not, in fact, be looked after. It’s not just about saving dollars, Ken, and even you can see that.

    I think I speak for many when I say that what the public wants,and expects, is transparency and full disclosure from this board, who have a hand in making those vital decisions that directly impact many families within Metro Vancouver. We want to be heard, and understood.

    Residents of suburbs both in Surrey, and east of it, are feeling abandoned when it comes to Transit planning. We simply cannot wait another 10 or 20 years to see some massive changes and improvements to these rapidly expanding communities, while we watch in frustration and see ongoing and continual improvements made within Vancouver/Burnaby/Richmond -cities that already offer excellent and efficient service to their residents.

    Meanwhile, it can take an hour to go 10 kms, in Surrey, Langley, or Delta by bus- let alone getting from Abbotsford to anywhere. The two sytems do not link up. People are forced to drive because taking transit just isnt feasible, even within our cities large municipal areas.

    Ken, I would love to invite the powers that be, on a tour of Surrey, by transit, to show them firsthand how inefficient it is, yourself included. I think as much as any transit planner can listen to, and try to understand the issues as relayed through verbal or written communication’s,and statitstics, both methods are incredibly lacking.

    A thorough and comprehensive understanding of the current inadequacies facing commuters could be achieved simply by trying to use it themselves.

    I welcome the chance to play tour guide anytime!