BRITISH COLUMBIA

Marcella Szel, TransLink Board Chair, Defends Paying Two CEO Salaries

02/17/2015 03:18 EST | Updated 02/17/2015 03:59 EST
Alamy/TransLink

The chair of TransLink's board of directors is defending the move to hire a new CEO while continuing to pay the former one.

Ian Jarvis will be kept on as a consultant and paid his full salary until June 2016. At the same time, interim CEO Doug Allen will also be paid $35,000 monthly.

While the decision has stirred some controversy, TransLink board Chair Marcella Szel said she believes a new CEO will help restore public confidence in the transit authority.

'It's the tone and the personality of the CEO that drives change and so we're going to be looking for one that focuses on efficiency and performance, accountability and customer service," she said on CBC Radio's On The Coast. ​

"On the compensation the board is in fact of taking a very hard look at overall executive compensation, and it is within that context that we decided we needed to make a change and we needed to make it now."

Restoring public confidence

Szel said getting a new CEO in place was the first step to making TransLink a better organization.

"What we wanted to do is ensure that the public understands that we're going to change the organization, we're going to change the way the organization looks at service, the way it looks at its performance, the way it looks at accountability, and it will do that through a new strong CEO," she said.

But the No side of the transit referendum has drawn attention to TransLink's management as a reason to vote against the 0.5 per cent tax increase to fund more transit.

When asked if paying two CEO salaries would play right into the hand of the No campaign, Szel said "What we did was look at the needs for the region and what we believe to be the right decision for the region going forward, even through this referendum period.

"We've still got a lot of time before the votes are counted at the end of May. We believe that having a new CEO in place doing different things with the organization ... is a good thing to do now."

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