The marvellous managers of British Columbia’s public service demonstrate an indisputable skill. Come hell or high water, they always manage to hit pre-determined objectives and thereby manage to trigger payments of personal performance rewards and bonuses. (And you thought the ‘manage’ parts of their job descriptions were about directing agencies and enterprises.)
If senior public servants were inspired by New York postmen, they might appreciate a credo like this,
“Neither rising fees nor declining services nor mounting debts nor program botch-ups nor conflicts of interest nor auditor’s reservations shall stay these administrators from from the swift completion of their expected deposits.”
All public agencies in this province publish high-minded statements that recount what ICBC calls the need for,
“high caliber leadership and the retention of critical talent and knowledgeable executive level leaders capable of guiding the company through a period of transformational change.”
Indeed, we’re big on transformational change. ICBC has been undergoing that for ten years, under the guidance of six different CEO’s.
Paul Taylor, Mr. Can’t-Fixit, left the Liberal Finance Ministry for ICBC in 2004. There he doubled his annual remuneration and was hauling over half a million when he departed under a little cloud, described by Black Press as,
“Controversy over vehicles ICBC repaired and sold – some with undisclosed crash histories to the unsuspecting public and other better buys to ICBC staff who trumped all other bidders in rigged auctions.”
Despite that, Taylor collected a six-figure bonus on the way out the door and carried with him credits for his “Supplemental Employee Retirement Plan,” to go along with his supplemental retirement plan from the provincial government. These plans are for “preserving the income replacement objective for higher income employees.” The most fortunate bureaucrats are able to stack pensions from multiple public sources, leading to retirement incomes far higher than their highest paid employment. In that vehicle trading and repairs scandal of the Taylor years, ICBC paid over $800,000 in severance costs to employees fired for involvement in the questionable practices.
Despite years of management targets met and bonuses paid, ICBC found itself needing to pay $26 million in severance to eliminate overstaffing of 2012. Departing executives responsible for hiring too many employees shared $2 milion for the inconvenience of no longer collecting annual incentive rewards for mythical targets met.
This week, after a whistleblower forced it into the open, ICBC revealed that hundreds of thousand of drivers have been charged incorrect premiums. Check Bob Mackin’s work for the detail.
Some may already be wondering how all senior executives of ICBC can manage to earn substantial non-salary remuneration each year while the company continues to show evidence of incompetent management. This latest scandal dates back to 2008 and ICBC’s five most senior executives collected over $5.1 million in bonuses and other non-salary compensation between 2008 and 2012.
Readers should not be surprised that Paul Taylor was back at ICBC as Chairman, only to depart suddenly a few months ago, three years before his term of appointment ended and before news of the latest difficulties leaked to the public.
Rest assured, more than a year from now, when we get the executive compensation reports for 2014, payments of executive performance rewards and bonuses wil remain undistubed and the ICBC Board of Directors will continue to be a resting place for beneficiaries of Liberal patronage. This is the model that got BC Ferries where it is today.