Metro Vancouver directors Langley Township councillor Bob Long and Langley City councillor Rudy Storteboom are pushing to have the regional district board reconsider a controversial “retiring allowance” that has generate controversy. File photos

VIDEO: Metro directors want to re-open “retirement allowance” debate

Langley Township councillor Bob Long has served notice he will be seeking another vote on the matter

Directors on the Metro Vancouver board are pushing for a new debate on the controversial retirement allowance that was approved in March.

Langley Township councillor Bob Long has served notice he will be seeking another vote on the matter at the April 27 meeting of the board and Langley City councillor Rudy Storteboom said he will second the Long motion when it is presented, ensuring there is a debate.

“I want to have it reconsidered,” said Long.

“If it is controversial, we should bring it back for (a) conversation” Storteboom said.

The retirement allowance has generated considerable criticism since it was adopted at the end of the March 23 meeting of Metro directors (debate of proposal begins at 32:23 in video below).

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver board members give themselves a $1,100 per year pension

Several Metro directors opposed the move.

Coquitlam Coun. Brent Asmundson questioned the wisdom of making the decision during an election year.

“With the number of people that are leaving, I don’t think it’ll be well received by the public that we have so many people who are longtime members getting a retroactive pension on their way out the door,” Asmundson said.

Burnaby Coun. Colleen Jordan said she was concerned about the fast turnover of board members leading to too many pensions.

“We have people on this board who sit for one year because their councils only appoint them for one year,” said Jordan. “Do we really think they need a 10 per cent ‘leaving allowance’ on top of their meeting stipend?”

Board vice-chair and Vancouver Coun. Raymond Louie supported the allowance: “I don’t think it’s a stretch for us to also recognize the long service – and perhaps short service – that each of us provide to this organization.”

In several media interviews, West Vancouver mayor Michael Smith has promised to bring in a motion to eliminate the allowance at the next board meeting.

However, Long said that can’t happen under the rules governing Metro board meetings, because only a director who supported a measure can bring it back for reconsideration.

While Smith was not present at the board meeting that approved the allowance, the West Vancouver council member who serves as an alternate director was there, and voted against the proposal.

That appears to mean West Vancouver can’t properly push for a new vote, Long said.

But Long and Storteboom, who both voted for the measure, are able to push for reconsideration.

“I think we’re ready to deal with it properly and we have the time and the tools to do it,” Long said.

“This is what governance is all about. This is democracy in action.”

Both directors said the discussion at the meeting was hampered by the fact the retirement allowance proposal had been combined with a separate proposal to boost directors pay to compensate for a federal decision to eliminate a tax break for municipal officials.

“It’s one bylaw that had two pieces in it,” Long said.

“It probably should have been referred back for further study,” he added.

“It was kind of like, take or leave it,” Storteboom said.

The Langley City councillor said the combined proposals were a late addition to the agenda of the board meeting, and he would have liked more time to consult with his Langley City council colleagues.

Meanwhile, Metro Vancouver Board Chair Greg Moore has issued a press release to announce his intention to bring a motion for reconsideration of the recently approved Board Remuneration Bylaw at the upcoming board meeting on April 27.

“As local government, we pride ourselves in listening to our citizens and finding solutions,” the Moore statement said.

“Over the past week we’ve received a tremendous amount of feedback and clearly we missed the mark with respect to the new remuneration bylaw.”

Intended to be the equivalent to the pension contribution a Metro Vancouver employee would receive, the retirement allowance would amount to 10.2 per cent of earnings, which is about $1,100 a year for all members who choose to leave or are not re-elected, going back to 2007.

The overall financial impact to the budget was projected to be about $498,000 with future costs of about $62,500 a year

A report to the board by the chief financial officer of the regional district, Phil Trotzuk, said a review by staff found there was a retirement benefit or pension equivalent for municipal politicians in six of the municipalities that are members of the Metro Vancouver regional district (including Surrey, Port Coquitlam and Vancouver), as well as many municipalities in other provinces, and all municipalities in Quebec.

Politicians elected to provincial legislatures and the federal government also get pensions, the report noted.

Metro Vancouver board members are appointed from the city councils of member cities. They receive a per-meeting stipend for the part-time position of $387 for meeting up to four hours and $775 for meetings over four hours.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Manslaughter conviction for 2015 killing nets 19 more months of jail

Shiloh Davidson pleaded guilty last fall to manslaughter in connection with death of Joe Zecca

Happy Earth Day Mission

Students at Mission’s Windebank Elementary School send a message

Fraser Health patients to see 23% more knee, hip replacement surgeries

First-available surgeon approach will reduce waitlists, B.C. health minister says

Ukrainian Festival returns to Mission

Event set for May 5 at the Heritage Park Cultural and Educational Centre

And the winners are …

Mission presents the 2018 Community Service Awards

UPDATED: 9 killed, 16 injured after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Toronto police say nine people have died and 16 are injured

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Protesters argue both sides of B.C.’s SOGI curriculum at teachers’ union office

The sexual orientation and gender identity program was launched as a pilot project last year

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Most Read