Exclusive: TransLink staff plan a day out for golf

Driving to Langley links on the eve of tax vote deadline

There is a Translink in Belfast and a TransLink in Metro Vancouver. By coincidence, golf will be on their minds May 28.

The Belfast Translink’s website says the public bus and rail company will be transporting golf fans to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club, beginning May 28. County Down native Rory McIlroy will undoubtedly attract the masses to the “unmissable” Irish Open 2015.

The TransLink in Metro Vancouver is holding its 7th annual staff golf tournament on May 28 at Redwoods Golf Course in Langley. Prizes include $10,000 for a hole-in-one. Entry is $115, but “Sapperton Social Club” members get a $15 discount. Cheques are payable to TransLink, says the flyer below.

Why is May 28 significant?

That is the day before the May 29 deadline for voting in Metro Vancouver’s non-binding, mail-in plebiscite on hiking the Provincial Sales Tax from 7% to 7.5% to help fund TransLink’s $7.7 billion expansion.

UPDATE (May 27): TransLink spokeswoman Cheryl Ziola has confirmed that the tournament was “postponed three weeks ago.”

The reason? (Or is it an excuse?) “The volunteer staff organizers needed more time to plan,” Ziola claimed.

If you believe that, then you’ll believe I have a green jacket from Augusta National hanging in my closet. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

But, seriously… I’m a lousy golfer and my trusted source told me that the tournament was nixed for one, simple word: “optics.”

UPDATE (July 9): It seems that Ziola only gave me (and you) half the story. The only planning the TransLink golfers were lagging in was the charitable component, according to an April 17 email by Human Resources Executive Vice President Sandra Hentzen. That was included in documents released today by TransLink via FOI.

Earlier on April 17, at 9:48 a.m. precisely, co-organizer Fred van Elsas emailed co-workers, including CFO Cathy McClay, SkyTrain general manager Doug Kelsey and Vice President of Compass and Construction David Beckley, to tell them the bad news. The golf tournament was postponed to 2016 “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

As you can see, van Elsas didn’t explain those unforeseen circumstances.

But it might just be a shorter way of saying “nobody expected the poster for the internal golf tournament would be leaked to Mackin and published April 16 on his blog.”

Mobile users, click here->TransLink golf tournament

Mobile users click here-> FOI Release 2015-281

3 thoughts on “Exclusive: TransLink staff plan a day out for golf

  1. stuart

    MANY companies have a golf day, or sailing day, etc. for staff – with pay! Where most companies pay for the event out of profits, here’s cheap TransLink demanding $100 each from staff. Why begrudge the staff a day off that THEY have to pay for?

    1. bobmackin Post author

      TransLink is a public-owned utility that should be held to a higher standard than private sector employers. At least some public resources are going to the organization of this event, as the co-ordinators are using their work email and the TransLink accounts to collect and process the funds.
      We also live in a post-Great Recession world and private companies aren’t subsidizing employee functions as much as they used to. If the day off was really arduous in any way, yet the staff really wanted time to bond together, there are always weekends and holidays.
      Anyway, the point of the blog post is contained in the headline and last paragraph. Had the TransLink staff golf tournament been scheduled some time after the May 29 mail-in vote deadline, I may not have devoted a single pixel to it.


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