Victoria Chamber of Commerce claims councillors spend too much time on issues outside its mandate
VICTORIA -- The recent saga about proposed pay raises for Victoria city councillors has taken a twist.
Victoria's Chamber of Commerce is taking aim at how many hours the city's council spends dealing with issues, that the chamber says, are outside the scope of its mandate.
The Chambers CEO, Catherine Holt, was responding to comments made by councillor Ben Isitt, who proposed that councillors should receive a pay raise of $25,000. That idea was roundly rejected in an online survey, with 86% of respondents saying that they strongly disagreed with the idea.
Isitt reacted to those results by saying that if the survey reflected public opinion, perhaps council should have a reduced work load.
On Thursday, Holt said that a significant amount of council's current workload is due to its own doing. She said the chamber of commerce had done some research and by its math, about 350 of the motions voted on by council this year were on topics outside of the council's stated agenda.
"If they have added 350 additional items to the council agenda, that is 350 additional topics that the staff has to do some work on," Holt said.
"That distracts them from the important things that they've identified as priorities and adds council meeting time, reading time for councillors and they're workload," said Holt. "So, it's self-imposed."
Councillor Isitt responded to those criticisms today, saying that the vast majority of council work was related to its mandate. He added that, although it did deal with motions outside its agenda, those motions were important to the public and didn’t involve that much time.
"I don't personally think those arguments about us substantially expanding our own body of work hold water and I would actually ask the Chamber of Commerce, 'Should we ignore what's happening in the 9900-block of Pandora?', because that's the implication," Isitt said.
"Should we ignore the cruise sector? That's how we would actually limit the body of work, but I don't think that would meet the expectations of stake holders and residents," said Isitt.
Under the city's strategic plan, a review of councillor's remuneration is scheduled for 2021.