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

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read