The mayor’s political foot dragging is costing taxpayers and it has to stop: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, B.C. (October 6, 2023): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says a letter from the provincial government to Mayor Brenda Locke, and copied to councillors, reinforces that a lack of leadership at city hall has stalled the Surrey Police transition process, with mayor, council, and city staff not fully engaged. The letter dated October 4, from Glen Lewis, Assistant Deputy Minister and Director of Police Services, highlights and challenges claims made by the city and urges the mayor to rectify matters and report back “on the remedy of these items” by October 13.
“Clearly, just like local taxpayers, the provincial government has had enough of the political foot dragging from Mayor Locke as it watches the transition process stall, with no real progress being made,” noted Annis. “In his letter, the director of police services focuses on a number of issues, including budgets, working with city staff, and the city’s relationship with the provincial and federal governments. The fact that city staff have been instructed ‘not to engage meaningfully’ until city council instructs them to do so is a serious red flag that is all about delaying the transition and costing our taxpayers $8 million a month extra to run two police departments.”
Highlights from the letter to the mayor include:
- City staff have been only minimally engaged in select aspects of this work to date and are seemingly constrained by a lack of clear direction from the Mayor and Council ….
- it is my observation that this lack of progress and delay is due in large part to a lack of leadership and engagement by City Council ….
- the City of Surrey has been provided multiple opportunities to collaborate on the development of the formal terms of reference of the independent facilitator …. Despite all of this you stated publicly to the media on September 21 that you “had no input on the terms of reference.”
- these public statements and lack of action are undermining of the role of the Strategic Implementation Advisor.
- despite being reminded of the Deputy Solicitor General’s clear offer to meet with the city to discuss the details of the Province’s offer of financial assistance, the City has yet to engage Ministry officials to … finalize details on this matter.
“The points raised by the province add up to a series of stalling tactics by Mayor Locke,” said Annis. “The result is a growing cost for Surrey taxpayers. The decision to move forward with the transition to the SPS has been made, and regardless of how Brenda Locke feels about it, she has a responsibility to get on with it. Instead, we are seeing a serious and calculated lack of progress that has its roots in political ego rather than doing what’s good for Surrey.”