Metro Vancouver directors' retirement allowances rankles West Vancouver mayor

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      Metro Vancouver has always offered an opportunity for local politicians to pad their incomes.

      So it's no wonder that positions on its board and committees are highly coveted.

      And on March 23, the honey pot became $498,000 sweeter after the board approved an amendment to the remuneration bylaw.

      It adds a new "retiring allowance" for board directors, with eligibility made retroactive to January 1, 2007.

      That doesn't sit well with West Vancouver mayor Michael Smith, who was on vacation when this measure was approved.

      Smith told Global News that he thinks the "whole thing is completely and totally out of bounds". And he'll be introducing a motion to reverse this at the next board meeting.

      Metro Vancouver's board and committees are comprised of local politicians appointed by their councils. The Tsawwassen First Nation and Electoral A also have representatives on the board. 

      As Metro Vancouver chair, Greg Moore already receives $77,474 per year in addition to the $92,270 base salary he receives as mayor of Port Coquitlam.

      As the vice chair, Raymond Louie collects $38,737 per year in addition to his $82,029 base salary as a Vancouver city councillor.

      Local politicians on the Metro Vancouver board or any of its committees receive $387 for any meeting lasting four hours or less. This stipend rises to $775 if a meeting lasts more than four hours.

      Committee chairs, who are appointed by Moore, receive $387 per month.

      The new retirement allowance will go to those directors and former directors who were elected officials in Metro Vancouver on March 23 and who served on the Metro Vancouver board at any time after January 1, 2007. 

      The financial send-off will be equal to whatever amount Metro Vancouver would have made to the B.C. Municipal Pension Plan had the board director been an employee.

      According to a report to the board, the B.C. Municipal Pension Plan contribution rate is 10.2 percent. Because these retirement payouts will be defined as a supplemental executive retirement plan, this benefit would not be taxable.

      That means Moore would receive nearly $65,000 tax-free because he's already announced that he won't seek reelection in October.

      Another former Metro Vancouver chair, Delta mayor Lois Jackson, also won't be seeking reelection later this year. This means that she'll also be eligible for a large tax-free payout, as would Louie should he decide not to seek reelection. 

      Three other long-time directors among those not seeking reelection—and eligible for allowances—are Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer, and City of North Vancouver mayor Darrell Mussatto. 

      Because the vote to change to the remuneration bylaw was conducted by a show of hands, the public can't tell from the Metro Vancouver website if representatives from their local governments were among those in favour.