'Now is the time to pull the plug': Victoria councillors respond to question of council pay
VICTORIA -- Despite backlash in an online survey about his proposal for Victoria councillors to get a major pay raise, Coun. Ben Isitt held his ground when interviewed on CFAX 1070 Wednesday.
"Right now it's impossible for a Victoria city councillor to have a day job," Isitt told host Al Ferraby.
Isitt said he often works 80-hour weeks, and the modest pay for councillors – approximately $45,000 – won't attract a diverse group of candidates for the position.
"There's many early- to mid-career professionals who I hear from who'd like to serve the city but they simply can't afford it. They can't afford to take four years out and take that financial hit."
Coun. Geoff Young noted Wednesday that the time is right for any councillor who doesn't like the job or what it entails to call it quits, without much extra expense to taxpayers.
"As it happens, we have a byelection coming up so anybody who has found the job doesn't suit him or her, now is the time to pull the plug," Young said.
For his part, Isitt says he has more work on council to do.
He also said that if people truly don't think councillors should get full-time pay, maybe reduced hours and duties is the answer.
"I think we do have to look at how could we limit the scope of councillor duties so councillors can get a regular job like they do in regular municipalities."
Isitt mused about holding evening meetings instead of daytime ones, like they do in Saanich.
Saanich councillor and CRD chair Colin Plant works full-time as a teacher. He says he likely couldn’t also be a municipal councillor if the meetings were during the day.
Plant says if people in Victoria don’t want their councillors to work full time, with full-time pay, maybe evening meetings are the solution.
"If the City of Victoria residents do not believe that their councillors are a full-time position, then it probably is appropriate to consider having evening meetings so that those councillors can look at having employment during the day," he said.