Metro Vancouver board salaries top $1.1 million in 2019

Mayors and councillors from across the region received from hundreds to thousands in salaries

Metro Vancouver paid more than $1.1 million in salary to Lower Mainland mayors and councillors in 2019, along with more than $139,000 in expenses, according to a leaked draft document.

The numbers, broken down by salary for each Metro Vancouver board and committee member, list total salary for the year, which ranges from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands in remuneration.

Don Bradley, a spokesperson for of Metro Vancouver said the draft document has not yet been fact checked and might contain inaccuraces. It was to go through finance committees in June and be presented to the Metro board for approval in July, when the final document would normally become public.

Metro Vancouver’s board chair, vice chair, and directors receive annual salaries, while committee chairs receive $397 per month.

In addition, board and committee members receive $397 for a meeting that lasts up to four hours, and $794 for a meeting that runs more than four hours.

When taking part in board business, including international travel, members of the Metro board can also be compensated for expenses including airfares, hotel accommodations, and meals.

According to the draft document, Metro Vancouver’s board chair, Burnaby’s Councillor Sav Dhaliwal, took home the largest remuneration with $86,211, plus $10,155 in expenses.

The board’s vice chair, City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan, received $46,678 in pay and $10,035 for expenses.

Local Langley City and Township mayors and councillors also took home amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, the document says.

Langley Township:

  • Coun. Petrina Arnason, alternate board member $5,955, no expenses
  • Coun. Steve Ferguson, alternate board member, $12,704, $1,289 in expenses
  • Mayor Jack Froese, board member, $40,474, $11,746 in expenses
  • Coun. Margaret Kunst, council of councils, $794, no expenses
  • Coun. Bob Long, committee member, $8337, $4433 in expenses
  • Coun. Kim Richter, board member, $10,719, no expenses

Langley City:

  • Coun. Paul Albrecht, council of councils, $794, no expenses
  • Coun. Gayle Martin, alternate board member, $5,955, no expenses
  • Coun. Nathan Pachal, council of councils, $794, no expenses
  • Coun. Rudy Storteboom, committee member, $8,337, $2,334 in expenses
  • Mayor Val van den Broek, board member, $23,423, $5,273 in expenses
  • Coun. Rosemary Wallace, council of councils, $794, no expenses

Several councillors received nothing in 2019, as they did not participate in any Metro board meetings.

Travel to conferences on provincial or urban issues was the main expense for Langley’s mayors and councillors.

Froese billed more than $6,000 for airfare and travel to a Resilient Cities conference in Bonn, Germany in June of 2019, as well as several hundred dollars for a conference in Portland, Ore.

He said his overall salary was higher than usual in 2019 because Metro chair Sav Dhaliwal placed Froese on a lot of committees – a high turnover in local mayors in the 2018 election meant there were few returning experienced mayors.

Froese served as a Metro director, as well as on the mayor’s committee, on the water committee, as vice-chair of the planning committee, as chair of the waste committee, and on the CEO search committee.

Van den Broek’s main expense was registration, travel, and hotel costs for the Air & Waste Management Association annual conference in Quebec City in June 2019.

The amount of both salary and expenses will drop sharply in 2020 as both regular meetings and travel have been curtailed or cancelled, van den Broek said.

“A lot of our meetings have been cancelled or amalgamated,” she said.

Meetings are now largely online, and with the end of international travel for most purposes and the cancellation of international conferences, almost every event has gone virtual.

Froese noted that he will be chairing a May 15 meeting of the waste committee from his home on Friday.

Van den Broek said she wasn’t sure if things will ever go back to the way they were, or whether there will be more virtual or “hybrid” virtual/in person events in the post-COVID-19 world.

Froese suspects the shift to online meetings will replace some gatherings permanently. He said it makes more sense than having everyone drive to Metro’s Burnaby offices for a one-hour meeting.

Both mayors said face-to-face communication is still important at conferences and meetings.

“It’s the networking, it’s the talking to people one on one,” the City mayor said.

In 2018, a proposal to institute a pension for board members who retired or were defeated at the polls was briefly adopted, before being scrapped following a public controversy. A proposed pay raise was also dropped.

The full report from Metro Vancouver is expected to be included in a public report to the finance and intergovernment committee on June 12.

The expenses of board and committee members has already been released in detail, and can be found at metrovancouver.org.

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