Victoria council remains under fire five days after pay raise vote


Five days after Victoria city councillors voted themselves a 25 per cent pay increase, it’s anything but old news.

Letters to the editor indicate the public is not finished making themselves heard.

The March 14 vote follows a report showing mayor and council salaries were below average compared with 18 other Canadian cities.

Mayor Marianne Alto and Councillors Stephen Hammond and Marg Gardiner voted against the hike, while Coun. Chris Coleman was absent.

Coun. Krista Loughton said she voted in favour because of the amount of work the job entails.

“We were given a staff report, and then we confirmed that council is a full-time but not a part-time job,” she said.

Pam Madoff served eight terms as a Victoria councillor before losing her seat in the 2018 election.

“I can understand all of their thinking behind it. But that doesn’t justify making that decision on their own behalf,” said Madoff.

She says the current council voting itself a pay raise sets a bad precedent.

“I remember at least once on council where we were put in the position to potentially vote for our own pay raise,” recalled Madoff.

“And heaven knows I certainly could have used it. It was a full-time job for me. I just couldn’t have lived with myself if I did it. It just doesn’t pass the test of public scrutiny or your own integrity.”

Victoria is not the only council to vote itself a healthy pay hike during its current term.

After a vote last April, Colwood councillors’ pay increased 57 per cent to $27,900, and the mayor’s pay went up to $55,785.

Royal Roads University political analyst David Black said councils are in a tough spot.

“Very few of us can vote ourselves a pay raise, and say, I accept, and proceed with a 25 per cent increase,” added Black.

“But, for the politicians point of view, it’s also a problem because there are real questions of the work done, the hours invested, the skill levels involved. And fair compensation.”

Victoria councillors will see their pay raise on their May 1 paycheques.

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