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

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

Just Posted

The BC Ferries’ website is down for the second time in one week from what they say is likely an overwhelming increase in web traffic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surging web traffic crashes BC Ferries’ site again

Website down for second time this week

BC Housing has brought in sanitation trailers to the former Mount Tolmie Hospital site so its current residents can access clean water, showers, sinks and toilets after a collapsed sewer pipe impacted water service to the building. (Google Streetview)
Mount Tolmie Hospital homelessness shelter using sanitation trailers after pipe collapse

Travelodge shelter residents faced intermittent hot water supply in late May, early June

Numerous Esquimalt residents can now build a detached accessory suite of up to 65 square metres in their backyard. (Township of Esquimalt)
Backyard suites now legal for some Esquimalt properties

One unit of up to 65 square metres now permitted for eligible residents

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

An eastern cottontail rabbit on the UVic campus. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Wild rabbits persist at the University of Victoria

Feral rabbits are still absent, but another non-native species has arrived on campus

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

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

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ B.C. plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Syringes prepared with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Vaccine first doses now available for walk-ins on Vancouver Island

People aged 18+ can walk in for their first COVID-19 vaccine

Photos displayed at a vigil for former Nanaimo outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found June 3 and whose death RCMP are investigating as a homicide. (News Bulletin photo)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

Most Read