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Metro board to ‘reconsider’ pay raise, retirement allowance

Board chairperson Moore cites public backlash for new motion to be heard at April 27 meeting
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Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, who doubles as chairperson of the Metro Vancouver regional board, said he will introduce a “reconsideration motion” at the board’s April 27 meeting to overturn pay increases. Photo supplied

A pay raise and retirement allowance approved two weeks ago by a majority of the civic politicians who serve on the Metro Vancouver regional board may not be going ahead, after all.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, who doubles as chairperson of the Metro Vancouver regional board, issued a news release Tuesday and took to Twitter to announce the board will reconsider changes made to the remuneration bylaw.

He and vice-chairperson Raymond Louie, who is a longtime Vancouver city councillor, will put a “reconsideration motion” forward to the board April 27 at its next meeting. Both of them are in Australia on business.

“It’s time to reconsider and change course,” said Moore via his Twitter account, noting he will vote down the bylaw. “Over the past week I have received much direct and indirect communications about the bylaw, mostly negative.”

Added Moore: “I have always worked hard to listen to all points of view. I believe it takes a true leader to admit they made a mistake and change their mind.”

Moore’s announcement came after the board decided March 23 to approve a one-time pay raise of 15 per cent and implement a retirement allowance retroactive to 2007 that would total $498,000.

The rationale for the pay increase, as spelled out in a staff report that went before the board, was to offset the federal government’s decision to require “non-accountable allowances paid to elected officials to be brought into income for 2019 and later tax years.”

The retirement allowance was added because the board’s directors, which are appointed by their respective city councils in the region, don’t have a pension or retirement benefits at Metro, the report said.

All directors, however, earn a salary from their municipalities and receive other benefits, including a transportation allowance in Vancouver. Councillors in Vancouver who take on roles as deputy or acting mayor are also compensated.

The Courier attempted to reach Louie but he was not available for comment before this story was posted. Louie earns $38,737 as vice-chairperson of Metro and he earned more than $85,000 last year as a city councillor.

Moore’s salary as chairperson of Metro is $77,474. He earns $96,752 per year as mayor, along with a transportation allowance of $7,550 per year.

All civic politicians serving on the board and committees earn $387 for each meeting that lasts up to four hours. If a meeting extends past four hours, the rate climbs to a maximum of $775.

Moore is not seeking re-election in this fall’s municipal elections, whereas Louie has confirmed he will seek another term at Vancouver city hall.

mhowell@vancourier.com

@Howellings