Victoria City Council are trying to get the public opinion on a significant salary increase. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Municipal watchdog calls Victoria councillors’ request for salary increase ‘boneheaded’

Grumpy Taxpayer$ wish to see reductions in councillor wages to meet local average

Local municipal watchdogs say Victoria city councillors are approaching things backwards when it comes to their salaries.

In an online survey regarding the 2020 city budget, councillors posed a question asking the public to support a 55 per cent salary increase for councillors in order to meet the median income of a city employee. This would bring their salaries up from around $43,000 plus benefits, to $70,100.

The Grumpy Taxpayer$, however think councillors should see a five per cent reduction in order to match the median total income of the Metropolitan Area of Victoria in 2017, which sat at $40,500.

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

“I think this request is stunningly insensitive to the average worker out there trying to make a living, or the people that are increasingly striking on the strike line,” said Stan Bartlett, chair of the Grumpy Taxpayer$. “Quite frankly it’s a goofy and boneheaded move that’s unacceptable.”

Many councillors also sit as members of other boards with salaries, including on the Capital Regional District (CRD) board, and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Through these roles, councillors also receive payment well as payment for travel, per diems, and when they take on additional roles (such as the acting mayor).

“It sends out a dreadful message to the rest of the municipalities in the region,” Bartlett said. “In total there are around 93 politicians out there that need to be paid and you can be sure they’ll line up for major pay hikes if they see a major raise.”

Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt told Black Press Media that the request for a raise comes forward after a freeze on raises since 2008.

ALSO READ: Saanich council votes for salary increase

“It’s impossible to have other ordinary outside employment,” he said, adding that he’s in the role from 40-50 hours per week. “We have daytime meetings, emails, participate in local events, and deal with communications arising.”

In a release, the Grumpy Taxpayer$ argued that if councillors felt their workload was too much, they could reduce their scope of reach. The councillor position is provincially defined as a part-time service to the public.

“Maybe council is too involved in the micro managing of the city and are removing accountability from the professional staff who were hired for that purpose,” the release reads. “If the workload is too much, maybe council should focus on core responsibilities instead of wandering aimlessly to issues outside their mandate and jurisdiction.”

The 2020 budget survey is available online at victoria.ca until Nov. 24.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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

city councilCity of Victoriataxes

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay ups deer management budget to $96,100 for 2020

Provincial grant approved for deer contraception program

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

‘Not the monster everyone thinks’: Sister of human-trafficking suspect speaks out

Trish Kelly’s brother was one of four Vancouver Island residents arrested last month in Saskatchewan

Old Town hotel developer says full retention of historic buildings ‘impossible’

UVic development partner says past renovations, seismic instability are barriers

Battling bullying covers a lot of ground, says Safe Schools manager for Sooke School District

Jamie Adair’s background is tailor-made for the work he does with the… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

Most Read