SURREY â€” Two mayoral hopefuls are promising taxpayers they will axe a variety of city policies to save money.
Former mayor Doug McCallum said he would axe a â€œseparation allowanceâ€ afforded to Surreyâ€™s municipal politicians when the electorate sends them packing.
â€œPoliticians know the risks of entering public life and I donâ€™t believe that elected officials should be entitled to this kind of gold-plated severance if voters decide not to elect them again,â€ McCallum said. â€œThe will of the electorate is what every politician chooses to be judged by, and that choices should not come with a safety net on the taxpayersâ€™ dime.â€
McCallumâ€™s potential change in policy would not affect elected officials in this election, as it would take affect after voting day, he stated.
In 2008, Surrey council voted 7-2 to give themselves a 9.5-per-cent annual payment on top of their salaries (up to a maximum of 12 years). The money is issued when politicians depart from office.
Mayoral opponent Linda Hepner told The Province at the time the change was about fairness. â€œAny time you give a politician five cents, people will say they shouldnâ€™t have it,â€ she said. â€œThere are provincial and federal (pensions) but, at the local level, Surrey has nothing.â€
Hepner said it was needed to attract good people to public office, noting Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg have departure benefits and council chose the same percentage of salary.
â€œIt will give you something while youâ€™re hunting for another job,â€ she said.
The pensions took effect after the 2008 election.
Meanwhile, One Surrey mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode says if sheâ€™s elected, sheâ€™ll stop â€œneedlessâ€ trips to foreign countries, will get rid of the mayorâ€™s car allowance and put a cap on expenses.
â€œSurrey doesnâ€™t have a money problem, it has a spending problem,â€ said Rasode.
â€“with files from The Province