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Victoria Chamber of Commerce weighs in on suggestion of councillor wage increases
Published Monday, November 18, 2019 5:37PM PST Last Updated Monday, November 18, 2019 6:52PM PST
VICTORIA - The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is speaking out over a controversial motion that would see Victoria city councillors giving themselves a hefty pay raise.
The city’s chamber of commerce is concerned that councillors are expanding their role to be more like employees of the city, rather than part-time directors.
Last week, Victoria councillor Ben Isitt put forward a new motion suggesting that the public weigh in on increasing councillors' salaries by up to 50 per cent to compensate for the long hours they put in.
Following the announcement of the motion, Victoria city councillor Marianne Alto said, “when you do this job the way that is necessary, you work a full time job. On average, I work 60 to 80 hours a week.”
If approved, wages for councillors could go from $40,000 a year to just over $70,000 per year.
Victoria’s Chamber of Commerce CEO, Catherine Holt, commented that councillors are not there to manage the city but to provide oversight for city staff,
“They [councillors] are elected to provide oversight on a part-time basis of the actions of the city staff," said Holt. "That’s the job and that’s what they should stick to."
"They have expanded it [their role] significantly over the years and it needs to be brought back in line to be a part-time position,” said Holt.
Holt told CTV News that she hasn’t heard anyone say that the biggest issue to be solved with regards to city councillors is that they need to get paid more and do more.
“This council’s priorities should be where every city’s priorities need to be, which is on running this city,” said Holt.
According to Holt, challenges that should be made a priority by the city include parking, roads, policing and safety on the streets and helping those with mental health and addictions issues.
Holt adds that this action could trigger councillors in other municipalities to campaign for similar pay raises.
She also suggested that an alternative to this pay raise would be to amalgamate all municipalities and have one mayor, one council and pay them all well.