Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is miffed that city hall had no say in RCMP salary increases that were approved by the feds two days before the city signed off on a new 20-year contract with the police force.
She said city hall was "caught off guard." Watts said she's not upset with the salary increase, per se, but "how it was done."
"There should have been a wholesome discussion," Watts said.
"We got a memo."
The RCMP's B.C. policing contract was ratified here in Surrey during a special ceremony on March 21 and after reviewing it, city hall signed its own new agreement with the force on April 2.
Under the new contracts, the provincial government and municipalities are supposed to have more say in how the RCMP is run.
Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and B.C.'s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond ratified the provincial contract.
Toews said the new contract will afford B.C. "increased input into issues affecting the cost, quality and standards of contract policing" before the feds make any decisions.
Bond echoed this spirit of transparency.
"This contract gives us new management and oversight ability that will allow us to contain costs and take a more direct role in determining what police services will look like in our province," she said.
On March 30, the federal Treasury Board approved a new three-year pay package for Mounties that will see them receive a 1.75 per cent increase in pay retroactive to Jan. 1, bringing the first class constable salary to $79,308. There will be another 1.5 per cent increase next January and two per cent in the third.
The Mounties' shift premium will also increase by $1.50 to $2 next April and senior constables' allowance will increase from four to five per cent in 2014.
As of March 31, severance pay ceased to accrue with respect to resignations and retirement, but the Mounties will still be entitled to severance pay based on what they've accumulated to that cut-off date.
Surrey has 661 Mounties. Under the new contact cities like Surrey, with populations over 15,000, will keep paying 90 per cent of the RCMP's costs. That works out to about 46 per cent of property tax collected here.