NEWS

TransLink's executive cuts don't solve its problems critic says

07/15/2015 09:54 EDT | Updated 07/15/2016 05:59 EDT
TransLink's issues are not with its management, but in how it is governed according to a former regional planner who helped review its governance structure in 2013.

Simon Fraser University professor Ken Cameron, a former manager of policy and planning with the Greater Vancouver Regional District, now Metro Vancouver, says cutting two managers and bringing in another interim CEO won't hep fix the real problems plaguing the troubled transit authority,

"It's the [TransLink] board that chose the compass card system, for example. That whole train wreck happened and so throwing some managers over the side isn't going to fix that."

Unelected board a problem

TransLink is currently governed by an unelected board of directors. In 2007, the B.C. Liberal government dissolved a board of elected officials.

Cameron believes TransLink should be solely Metro Vancouver's responsibility.

"It's a local service that should be provided by people who are accountable locally, certainly not by people who are isolated from the users and the voters of the region."

"What [the provincial government] should be doing is cooperating and reinforcing sound transportation planning, which is not building bridges and roads that are running contrary to the objective of increasing transit service," Cameron said.

Cutting managers wrong decision

Cameron said both TransLink executive vice-president Bob Paddon and general manager Doug Kelsey — the two managers let go by the organization — "have worked for decades to make TransLink a success."

Paddon's position as executive vice-president of planning and stakeholder relations has also been eliminated in order to save salary costs. Interim CEO Doug Allen is being replaced by Cathy McLay, the organization's chief financial officer, until a permanent replacement is found.

Todd Stone, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said he welcomed the changes to TransLink's management.

"I would hope that the decisions that are represented with these two departures will reinforce the public's demand of TransLink to do a better job managing taxpayers' dollars in terms of the operations of TransLink," he said.

To hear the full interview click on the audio labelled: TransLink management shakeup.

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