Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. (Contributed)

Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. (Contributed)

Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce says proposed councillor payraise is out of line

CEO Catherine Holt 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 13 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

BusinessCity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read