COLUMN: Will work for bus pass – and gold-plated pay package

Dear TransLink,

Please accept this employment application for one of your many fine, exciting job opportunities.

While it’s true I’m already working full time as editor of the Peace Arch News, I’m able to clear up some personal time to accept a part-time position with your Crown agency – er, make that “independent authority.”

While I guess I could consider a job as a bus driver, mechanic or transit cop, I think I would be more suited to sit on your board of directors. Frankly, the other positions seem to be awfully labour-intensive for the money, and I’m in this mostly to serve my community in a less-strenuous category.

Also, I like the idea that the board, while political in nature, is not elected in and – therefore – cannot be elected out. As such, I won’t let voters’ whims influence my contributions on how to run their public transit system and spend their tax dollars accordingly.

My understanding is the board members will receive about $46,000 annually, including a $25,000 stipend, $1,200 per meeting and thousands more for each committee they sit on.

While this might be fine to start, I would plan to bump this 500 per cent in my first month on the payroll – at one of our private meetings, of course. I’m certain I would have little difficulty convincing an independent panel to agree, seeing as these government-appointed committees always seem to support each others’ massive raises.

Should chairman Dale Parker vacate his position, I wouldn’t be too averse to taking over his position – also considered part-time – to the tune of $100,000 a year.

However, I suspect the other directors are getting a better deal, as they will rarely see their names in print on controversial news stories.

(After all, how many newspapers and other media outlets would take time and space to print all eight names, including: James Bruce, Cindy Chan Piper, R.W. (Bob) Garnett, Sarah Goodman, Nancy Olewiler, Robert Tribe, Leslie (Skip) Triplett and David Unruh.)

As for my credentials, just so you know, I’m really quite an expert on transit stuff. I’ve crossed your bridges, ridden your buses, paid for your AirCare, used your SkyTrain, floated on your SeaBus and adapted my spelling style to allow capitalization part way through words.

I also pay your surcharge for every litre of gasoline I purchase. And I purchase a lot, as I don’t find the bus system to be particularly convenient when heading anywhere other than a beeline between here and downtown Vancouver.

Yes, the ironies abound.

Although I understand I won’t have to attend meetings in person – literally phoning-in my contributions, as it were – I will indeed make every effort to attend as many meetings as possible. At $1,200 a pop, I’ll also volunteer to meet with outside groups on behalf of the board.

I imagine the great unwashed are already lining up to talk.

I will reserve the right, however, to use the phone for some meetings when the traffic is heavy and the buses full. It’d be nice calling from the comfort of my hot tub. (I don’t have one yet, but I suspect I’ll soon be able to afford one.)

Anyway, lest I’m giving the impression I’m all about the money, let me be clear. I’m not asking for any more than other political appointees who are serving for the greater good.

In fact, I am willing to toss you a bone by not asking for a free transit pass. After all, at these new wages, I can certainly afford to pay for the bus.

On second thought, $5 to get into Vancouver? Guess I’m going to need every penny.

Lance Peverley is editor of the Peace Arch News.


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