Victoria councillors consider 55 per cent raise

Victoria councillors consider 55 per cent raise

Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO says councillors are ‘absolutely not’ city employees

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce believes Victoria council forgets its role.

In an online budget survey available to the public until Nov. 24, the city asks for the public’s approval of a 55 per cent payment increase for councillors, bringing the baseline salary up from $43,000 to $70,100 in order to meet the median income of a city employee.

“The main concern we have at the Chamber is the comparison of city councillor salaries to the employees of the city, which suggests they’re also employees of the city,” said Catherine Holt, CEO of the Chamber. “They’re absolutely not. They are elected to be representatives to the city and to provide oversight with regards to what city staff are doing to ensure that the city is meeting the needs of the citizens.”

READ MORE: Victoria councillors ask taxpayers for opinions on 55 per cent wage increase

Holt said compared to similar-sized municipalities, such as North Vancouver, Victoria councillors already earn more for their time.

“In most kinds of government roles you’re not being compensated as if it’s employment,” Holt said. “You’re getting a notional amount to cover that fact that you’re dedicating your time to public service. It’s not supposed to be a full-time job.”

Coun. Ben Isitt told Black Press Media that he works for the city an average of 40-50 hours per week.

“It’s impossible to have other ordinary outside employment,” Isitt said. “We have daytime meetings, emails, participate in local events, and deal with communications arising.”

Holt said this is entirely the result of the choices of council members, since many other municipalities manage to keep their hours down.

“If they are spending way, way, way too much time in meetings and feel like it’s becoming full time they can change that,” she said. “It would be more realistic for them to create meeting formats where they don’t spend many, many hours on their role. They should be looking at recommendations from city staff, asking pertinent questions and making decisions, not re-investigating, re-discussing and debating everything.”

ALSO READ: Saanich council votes for salary increase

Another problem Holt, said, is that if one of the Capital Region municipalities sees a significant raise increase for councillors, all thirteen will soon want similar benefits.

In that case, she said, it would be easier and more cost effective to simply amalgamate and do one pay raise instead.

The budget survey where the question of a councillor salary raise is addressed is available at victoria.ca until Nov. 24.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

BusinessCity of Victoria

Just Posted

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Ladysmith Harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water harbour, none of them threatening

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read