On Wednesday, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond said she was shocked British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. boss David Hahn makes one million dollars. But that's not what I'm shocked about. What I'm shocked about is that Minister Bond is shocked.
After all, since the Liberals have been in power, B.C. Pavilion Corp.'s head has seen his salary increase 166 percent to $400,000 - even though public facility heads in Seattle, Toronto and New Jersey make significantly less according to 24 hours's Bob Mackin. BC Railway Co.'s president and chief executive officer continues to make half-a-million dollars even though the tracks he's responsible for have been privatized. And our top bureaucrats can now earn around $300,000 all because, I think, of a mistaken faith in the cult of the chief executive officer - the belief the province's public institutions need to pay the best to get the best if British Columbia wants to be the best.
But last month's edition of The Atlantic Monthly questioned the corporate American branch of that faith, citing studies that show chief executive officers seldom make a decisive difference to a company's performance. Instead, in a recently published book, Massachusetts Institute of Technology management professor Paul Osterman argues it's the middle managers who matter - news that might also shock Minister Bond and her own chief executive officer Gordon Campbell.