Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has named the members of his new police committee, a group that includes himself and his four coalition members on council.
McCallum announced last week that he was dissolving the Public Safety Committee, and creating an Interim Police Transition Advisory Committee (IPTAC).
McCallum name Couns. Mandeep Nagra, Laurie Guerra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford to the committee that the mayor would chair.
“It is expected that the committee will be in place for about three to six months,” McCallum told council. “The mandate of this committee will be to support the policing transition, leading up to the establishment of the a police board.”
A few Councillors say they were disappointed that Coun. Jack Hundial, a police officer of 25 years, was left off the committee.
“Certainly it should be a surprise and concern to everyone that Coun. Hundial wasn’t involved in that, because he is the one with more experience than all of them put together,” Coun. Brenda Locke said after the meeting.
Hundial said after the meeting that being shut out won’t stop him from doing his job.
“I’m not going to stop advocating for the people who put me here,” Hundial said after the meeting.
He noted McCallum was very proud to have a veteran police officer joining the team during last fall’s election campaign. What has changed, Hundial said, is likely the position he’s taken on the police transition.
He said that he couldn’t sit quietly after receiving the Police Transition Plan, which he says has gaping holes in it.
His position on the transition, he said, has likely soured his relationship with the mayor.
“It does make it difficult for him to work with me on it,” Hundial said.”There are some major gaps in that report – I don’t think it makes Surrey any safer.”
Mayor Doug McCallum dodged media calls for comment after the meeting, choosing instead to leave through a side door.
McCallum took several by surprise when he dissolved the Public Safety Committee last week.
At the regularly scheduled Public Safety Committee meeting at 1 p.m. Monday, McCallum announced it would be the last meeting of that committee.
He said he was dissolving the committee in favour of a Police Transition Advisory Committee (PTAC).
He cited section 141, subsection one of the Community Charter, which gives him that authority, by stating “The mayor must establish standing committees for matters the mayor considers would be better dealt with by committee and must appoint persons to those committees.”
Issues that fall outside the purview of PTAC will be addressed by council separately, he said.
Locke said at the time she was completely “blindsided” by the dismantling of the committee, but claims it speaks volumes of the mayor’s “my-way-or-the-highway” leadership style.
“The citizens of Surrey need to pay attention,” Locke said. “Their democracy is being impacted badly.”
She says that includes a lack of transparency and a lack of consultation.
“I’d say that’s problematic,” she said. “This is not democratic.”
Hundial said the idea also caught him unaware.
“I have concerns,” Hundial said last week. He has asked the mayor to be included in the PTAC. “I want to work within the system… particularly on something as important as public safety.”
Coun. Linda Annis said last Monday she was “shocked” about the dissolution of the Public Safety Committee.
She said the transition committee is premature, as the province hasn’t approved Surrey’s transition plan.
“I don’t know why he would strike a committee to see this transition through, when we haven’t even heard back from the province,” Annis said.
She also noted the Public Safety Committee served a vital service for all issues of public safety before all of council..
“We need to have all councillors engaged in issues that face the city, not just the mayor’s inner circle,” Annis said.
McCallum has been unavailable for comment.