April 30, 2019 10:29 am

Coun. Van Holst pushing to make London city councillor job full time

Councillor Michael Van Holst during a committee meeting on Dec. 4, 2018.

Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

One city politician is asking his colleagues to consider making London’s councillor job full time.

Ward 1 Coun. Michael van Holst has a letter going before Tuesday’s corporate services committee, which points out that London employs thousands of full-time civic staff, “yet the chief decision makers are not included among them.”

READ MORE: London city council approves 2.3% inflation-based wage bump for councillors

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Van Holst argues that politicians will be better able to serve their constituents by focusing on one job.

“If you really want to be connected with your community, doing a full-time job and a part-time job at the same time may make that difficult,” he said during 980 CFPL’s Craig Needles Show.

Though being a councillor is a part-time gig, last term’s council approved a raise that brought compensation in line with the average full-time income for Londoners. After a second, smaller 2.3 per cent lift tied to inflation was signed off on last week, the pay for the job is now $52,358.

READ MORE: City committee approves proposed hefty pay increase for London council members

Van Holst wants the committee to direct the city’s governance working group to consider the change, while also looking into reducing the number of wards in London and how they’re represented.

“Do we need 14 councillors if we’re going to be full time?”

“Maybe 10 councillors are the best way, which means we’ll have to adjust the wards… do we want five wards with two councillors each?”

Van Holst left behind a teaching job so he could serve Ward 1, a job he’s held for two terms now. He is running as the Conservative candidate for London-Fanshawe in this October’s federal election.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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