Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says there has “never been a public safety rationale” behind Mayor Doug McCallum’s push for a city police force and his promise it would cost “just 10 per cent more is complete fiction.”
This follows a Now-Leader report in January that Surrey Police Service Chief Norm Lipinski will earn a base salary of $285,000 with “potential rewards,” bringing it to nearly $335,000.
The Now-Leader has reached out to the Surrey Police Board by phone and email for comment, but has not yet heard back. The City of Surrey directed media requests to the police board.
“This isn’t about Norm Lipinski’s compensation package, which is about $100,000 more than what we’re paying the RCMP head of our police department,” said Annis. “Norm is a good man, but he’s tied to Doug McCallum’s ongoing animosity towards the RCMP, something that goes all the way back to his previous terms as mayor of Surrey.”
Annis added the transition costs are “out of control.”
“Surrey’s RCMP do an incredible job with the limited budget and manpower they’ve been given,” she noted.
“If we want more policing then let’s put the dollars being spent on the transition into our Surrey RCMP where they can do some real good right now. Instead, every taxpayer in Surrey is forced to stand on the sidelines watching the mayor’s high-priced vanity project unfold in front of them, and they don’t like what they see.”
She said the whole thing is “one big mistake.”
“Whether it’s the incredible cost of the chief and his three deputies compared to their Surrey RCMP equivalents, $20,000 a month for a public relations consultant with nothing to say, or the fact that Surrey is going to have to poach police officers from every other community in the Lower Mainland to fill its ranks.”
The Surrey Police Service has so far hired Lipinski, three deputy chiefs, three superintendents and six inspectors. Of those new hires, according to releases from SPS, six people have connections to Surrey or the Surrey RCMP.