Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has dissolved the city’s public safety committee and has established instead an interim Police Transition Advisory Committee for the yet-to-be-approved shift from RCMP to a municipal force.
“I’m informing the Public Safety Committee that this will be the last meeting of this standing committee,” said McCallum during Monday’s Public Safety Committee meeting at city hall, which all members of council currently participate in.
“I’m dissolving the Public Safety Committee,” he said, referencing section 141-1 of the Community Charter. “I’m establishing a new standing committee to be called the interim Police Transition Advisory Committee, PTAC for short.”
McCallum told the committee he would announce appointments to the new committee during council’s next meeting on July 22.
The mayor said he expects the committee will be in place for a period of three to six months, and its mandate will be “to support the policing transition process leading up to the establishment of the police board.”
“All items of business that fall outside of the new interim Police Transition Advisory Committee that would otherwise be presented at the Public Safety Committee will be provided to council through other avenues such as corporate reports, inter-office memos, presentation to CIC (Council in Committee) and other existing committees. That’s a decision I have made.”
It’s a move being slammed by independent Councillor Brenda Locke, who was elected as part of McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition but split due to the mayor’s so-called “my-way-or-the-highway approach.”
After the July 15 Public Safety Committee meeting, Locke told the Now-Leader this is ‘typical of the way the mayor manages council as chair” due to what she described as a “lack of transparency and consultation.”
Locke said she was “blind-sided” by the announcement and that she “doesn’t think this is in the best interest of public safety for Surrey.”
“This pretty much sums up what we have been working with for the last eight months. It’s constantly a one-man show,” Locke added. “We’ll wait and see who he appoints to the committee. That will be a very large tell, won’t it.”
On Tuesday, Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis also criticized the decision to dissolve the committee in favour of his own “personally appointed” group.
“This move is not only wrong, it’s premature since the province has not given any approval yet for the proposed Surrey Police Department,” Annis said in her release. “Every councillor was part of the long-standing public safety committee, which meant every voice was heard. This new advisory committee sounds and feels more like a group with no real mandate other than to agree with the mayor every step of the way, without any regard to what the people of Surrey want or feel.”
Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose told the Now-Leader it is “astonishing” that the mayor dissolved the Public Safety Committee.
Bose mused about the new committee being filled with McCallum’s “hand-picked bobbleheads”
The City of Surrey has sent the provincial government its 189-page Policing Transition Report for review, but there has been no word of the plan being approved.