Had I my druthers, if such a thing came to pass, and I got to say who the BC Ferries president would be, and name the two main vice-presidents (they have numerous vice-presidents) I sincerely believe I could come up with people who'd do a great job at a lower rate of pay than those currently doing the gig.
I think our current councillors, Cro Lucas, Alison Morse, Wolfgang Duntz, Andrew Stone, all of them, would do well at it. So would former councillors like Doug Hooper and Peter Frinton. Peter's a real detail man, a minutia guy, and he'd be great at looking at charts and such. If you are able to handle handling Bowen's affairs, by comparison a ferry service would be easy.
Consider this declarative statement: the remuneration our ferry guys get is too great. Here is a quote from my story on Digital Journal on Ferry Corp. exec. salaries in 2012: "CEO Michael Corrigan...wound up the year at $563,000. Two vice-presidents, Robert Clarke and Glen Schwartz, made $492,207 and $491,643 respectively." With easily achieved bonuses they actually made more (Canadian Press reported that Corrigan wound up getting $915,000 for 2012).
Doesn't that seem a trifle excessive?
Adding the proverbial insult to our real injury, you may have heard that the guy who heads the ferry service in Washington State makes $170,000 per annum (no bonuses). The difference between the ferry bosses, at least in 2012 ($915,000 to $170,000) was $745,000, or $475,000 over and above the $270,000 figure they seek to save with the cuts planned for our route.
You likely know that when the B.C. government created the Coastal Ferry Act in 2003 they turned BC Ferries into a hybrid public/private corporation, accent on private. This gives the Liberals the excuse to stand back and claim there's nothing they can do to alter the decisions made by B.C. Ferries because, thanks to their own legislation, it is no longer under their, under our, bailiwick.
That was clever. Only it has them abrogating the very job they're supposed to be doing, leaving it up to guys who, well, would pay themselves $915,000 a year. And still muck it up! Were there hordes and hordes of us living on islands the government might listen to us, but there ain't, so they don't. What they lack in integrity they make up for in gall.
But that's politics, no?
At any rate, I could list someone else who would do a good job and work for less. Me. I'd concentrate as hard as I could, even for just $170,000. I'd listen to my department heads and make informed decisions based on their reports, most of which I'd read, most of. And I could handle all the meetings required, after all as a reporter I've sat through many council meetings and, save one or perhaps two times, stayed awake the entire time. Did my concentration slip? Yes, it did, but, again, I wouldn't be asking for the $915,000 salary.
The $170,000 salary would do.
Here's this though: it's hard to imagine the people of BC care much about our plight ("Hey, Bub, you're the one decided to move to an island") and they don't consider that the cuts cause less passengers and ultimately less revenue, nor would they note that our taxes pay for their highways and bridges whether we use them or not. So while I admire those protesting ferry cuts it's hard to imagine that mainland citizens, or Todd Stone, the minister for transportation and infrastructure, give much of a hoot about it all.
Indeed, here's what Todd said about ferry cuts after Tuesday's protest rally in Victoria: "These are tough decisions, very tough decisions, but at the end of the day we have said consistently, actually before the election, during the election and ever since, certainly in the eight months I've been minister, that we're going to do everything in our power to get ferries to a place of affordability and sustainability. That means making some tough decisions on service levels."
There is another protest, this on Saturday, March 15, the Coastal Communities protest. It will be citizens from areas whose economies, and day to day life, will be impacted by the cuts, protesting in their own communities. My understanding is Bowen protestors will get on the 11:30 ferry and peacefully protest and hand out handbills in Horseshoe Bay from noon until 1pm. Root around Facebook for more information.
Had I my druthers, Todd Stone would listen to them but, well, I ain't so sure he will. Are you?