B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone says he hasn't given up in his attempt to get the B.C. Ferries board of directors to rein in high bonuses and salaries for Ferries senior executives and trustees.
Mike Corrigan makes $563,000 a year in pay, pension, bonuses and other perks, it was revealed last month when the Crownowned corporation issued its annual statement of senior executive compensation.
Executive vice-president Glen Schwartz's annual incentive bonus rose to $127,008, a $64,298 increase, and the bonus paid to Robert Clarke, executive vicepresident and chief financial officer, rose to $133,711, up $73,359. The bonuses, announced after B.C. Ferries appealed to the province to get $20 million in operating subsidies and then reported a profit on earnings, drew sharp criticism from the Opposition, and a call for cuts at the top.
Stone said he would make the case for cuts with board members, who themselves get generous pay for part-time work. Stone, who was unavailable for comment Monday, issued a statement through the government public affairs branch confirming the meeting, and that while it wasn't fruitful, he will keep pushing for change.
"Yes, I did meet with the chair of the B.C. Ferry Corporation, and I made it clear that government shares the public's frustration with salary levels and bonus payments at the corporation," said Stone by email. "The chair has committed to going back to his board and address this. I expect to hear back from him in the coming weeks."
NDP Leader Adrian Dix recently told the Times Colonist Stone should freeze wages for top B.C. Ferries executives. Claire Trevena, the New Democrat transportation critic, said Stone has the legislative tools he needs to address the problem, without need for another B.C. Ferries board meeting.
"The minister has the authority to be firm, and should be firm, and say this is (part of) the highway system," Trevena said.
"We can make amendments to the Coastal Ferries Act, which would ensure we are not paying large salaries and bonuses. This comes directly back to the minister of transportation, to say this is how the ferry system can be run."
Compared to the generous salaries and bonuses paid to top B.C. Ferries executives, the Washington State ferry system is run on a shoestring, Washington State Ferries boss David Moseley made $165,943 (Cdn.) last year, including his pension. Unlike Corrigan, he gets no bonus and no vehicle allowance.
Trevena said she would like to see that kind of approach modeled here.
"If you can run the state ferry system in Washington for that amount, there is no reason we shouldn't be able to do that in B.C."
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