For the third straight year, top managers at Montreal's STM transit authority have voted themselves major salary increases, with salary hikes representing between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent, boosting the average salary for the top 11 managers to $226,400.

The same brass recently cut services by $65 million, raised fares on January 1 and decreased bus service by three percent.

Chairman Philippe Schnobb, a former Radio Canada journalist who was appointed to the post last November, told CTV Montreal that he is too new to the job to properly evaluate the proposed raises.

“Next year, when we’ll do the same process as this year, we’ll be able to better evaluate the evaluation because I would have been on duty for one complete year," said Schnobb. "Next time that we take the same kind of decision about pay raises, we’ll take everything into consideration, including a salary freeze.”

Schnobb said that he acceded to the General Manager's request to enact the pay hikes.

The General Manager, who also received a raise, now earns $327,000, the same amount as Prime Minister Harper and twice what Mayor Denis Coderre earns.

Schnobb's apointment by the agglomeration council to top job at the STM - which overses 9,000 employees and a budget of $1.3 billion -  was criticized by some who noted that he has no significant previous experience in high-level administration.

Schnobbb, who covered city hall for many years, quit journalism to run for the Coderre team, losing out narrowly to Richard Bergeron co-lister Janine Krieber of the Projet Montreal.

Schnobb's predecessors Michel Labrecque and Brenda Paris were also failed candidates for then-mayor Gerald Tremblay’s party.