Metro pay rules to draw line at triple dipping

Cap would let directors collect for no more than two meetings a day

Metro Vancouver directors will vote next month on whether to limit themselves to being paid for no more than two meetings a day, even if they manage to squeeze in three or more.

Metro directors are paid $322 for each meeting they attend, or $644 if a meeting runs longer than four hours. That’s over and above their pay from local municipalities for serving as elected mayors and councillors.

Under the current no-limit policy, some directors have occasionally attended three different Metro meetings in the same day and collected $966.

But a proposed change would cap the maximum daily pay for meeting attendance at $644, equivalent to two regular-length meetings.

Metro’s finance committee narrowly voted in favour of the change Tuesday, but it still requires the approval of the full board in late April.

North Vancouver City Mayor Darrell Mussatto supported the change.

“I’ve never had three meetings in a day myself,” he said. “A two-meetings-a-day cap is, I think, appropriate.”

Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin, however, opposed the new limit and said it’s rare that a politician is paid for attending more than two meetings.

“I think it happened three times last year,” she said. “But I think if you attend three meetings in a day, you should get paid for three meetings.”

The cap would also limit a director to just $644 in pay if they attend two meetings in a day but one is over four hours, a scenario that until now was worth $966.

That could happen when a Metro board meeting runs over time, from say 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and directors later attend an evening public hearing.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who chairs the finance committee, supports the change, saying it also aligns with the $644 limit on how much directors can be paid for meetings in a full day while travelling out of town on Metro business.

“It keeps it consistent with the travel policy,” Brodie said. “We just wanted to be reasonable.”

The Metro board is also revising its travel policy for attending conferences and meetings outside the region.

It indicates directors will now be expected to minimize expenses and travel time such as overnight stays wherever possible.

It will also ban directors from claiming meal costs when they are at events where meals are provided.

The policy calls for directors to fly economy class while travelling.

But on flights over nine hours, directors are allowed to upgrade to business class or else stay in economy but arrive a day ahead of schedule, with an extra day’s travel pay.