SURREY mayoral hopeful Doug McCallum and the Safe Surrey Coalition will end the practice of providing “separation allowance” payments to losing mayors and city councillors after the 2014 election.
In January 2008, City Council voted 7-2 in favour of giving themselves $5,092 per year of severance pay for every year they were elected to office (up to a maximum of 12 years). At the time, Councillor Linda Hepner justified the decision by telling the Vancouver Province: “It will give you something while you’re hunting for another job.”
In consideration of the fact that sitting City Councillors often carry on other jobs, separation allowance is not something that Surrey taxpayers should be paying for, said McCallum.
“Politicians know the risks of entering public life, and I don’t believe that elected officials should be entitled to this kind of gold-plated severance if voters decide not to elect them again,” he said. “The will of the electorate is what every politician chooses to be judged by, and that choice should not come with a safety net on the taxpayers’ dime.”
The following amounts are what each incumbent elected official is entitled to as per the current plan:
* Mayor Dianne Watts – $61,104
* Councillor Tom Gill – $45,828
* Councillor Bruce Hayne – $15,276
* Councillor Linda Hepner – $45,828
* Councillor Marvin Hunt – $61,104
* Councillor Mary Martin – $45,828
* Councillor Barinder Rasode – $30,552
* Councillor Barbara Steele – $61,104
* Councillor Judy Villeneuve – $61,104
Defeated elected officials in this election will not have their separation allowance impacted, as it will be a policy that will be voted in after taking office, said McCallum.
“This is about doing the right thing for Surrey taxpayers,” he said. “The change to this policy will become active in 2015.”