Metro Vancouver district spending catches Eby’s eye, calls for audit

International trips, high salaries, and questions over sufficient oversight — the Metro Vancouver Regional District’s (MVRD) spending has caught the eye of B.C.’s premier.

After weeks of controversy, the latest talking point surrounding the regional district is focused on how much money the head bureaucrat makes.

Documents from the MVRD show Chief Administrative Officer Jerry Dobrovolny makes more than Premier David Eby and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, combined.

Dobrovolny’s annual remuneration plus benefits topped out at more than $700,000 in 2023. That eye-catching number has Eby’s attention.

“I think that the time has really come for Metro Vancouver to hire an auditor, independent of them, to dig into this and provide a report to everybody,” Eby said Monday. “I’ve heard suggestions the Auditor General could be appropriate, certainly the Auditor General can go and definitely follow provincial dollars.”

It’s something several civic politicians have also called for. Just last week, seven local city councillors representing five different cities penned an open letter calling on B.C.’s Auditor General to conduct an independent review of Metro Vancouver and the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The group wants Michael Pickup to determine why the plant is over budget. Three months ago, it was revealed the estimated costs for the facility had ballooned by $700 million to $3.86 billion.

The news about Dobrovolny’s pay package is just the latest flashpoint in the controversy which has seen soon-to-be former chair and current Delta Mayor George Harvie pressured to leave his post because of his spending.

Eby on Monday had a warning for the civic politicians who have been green-lighting the spending.

“When it comes to the salaries and expenses incurred by Metro Vancouver, the elected officials responsible for Metro Vancouver are responsible for those costs. And they’re gonna have to explain to the people who voted them in how this could be happening,” Eby said.

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