If ever there was a prime example of government newspeak, also known as political spin, it appears on page A7 of this edition of the Free Press.
It’s headlined “ICBC reforms management bonuses,” and it’s written by Black Press reporter Jeff Nagel.
In no way do we mean any disrespect to Mr. Nagel because his job is merely to report the news.
However, that cannot be said about the heads of the B.C. Liberal government’s Crown corporation – ICBC.
Before anyone complains about joining the government and ICBC at the hip in this editorial, we point out the latter must cough up a $145-million annual dividend to the former – presumably to maintain its monopoly on basic insurance coverage in British Columbia.
But we digress, so back to the story.
The story comes on the heels of the public outrage about ICBC raising its rates for basic automobile insurance premiums by more than 10 per cent.
So, the question came out loud and clear: “Why are we paying more for insurance when ICBC is giving outrageous bonuses to its head honchos and then it’s trickling down through the management ranks?”
While the story starts by stating ICBC is restructuring its controversial pay incentive program by reducing or eliminating the bonuses if management doesn’t steer the cash cow into the annual profit target zone.
This is stated in the first two paragraphs, and after all, why should managers be paid bonuses if they’re short on their bag money to the provincial government.
For some readers, that may sound pretty good and they can close the paper and sleep happily that night.
When we look into the nuts and bolts of the process, however, if the mangers hit 75 per cent of last year’s profit target, they get their same full bonus package.
Then there is a gradually reduced bonus payout from there, and the real elimination of a bonus package would only come into play if ICBC lost money.
Sometimes it’s tough being in upper management.
The real kick in the pants is if that happens, just imagine how high the premiums will climb in an effort to save the monopoly.