SURREY Connect Councillor Rob Stutt has come under fire as Surrey Police Union revealed that he never disclosed that “the RCMP employs his son in the Surrey Detachment, nor has he ever declared that his daughter is assigned to the RCMP via secondment from the City of Surrey” while he voted in favour of a motion to end the transition from the RCMP to the Surrey Police Service, and when he was appointed by Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke as the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee.
SPU has submitted a formal request to the Office of the Surrey Ethics Commissioner to investigate Stutt’s alleged breach of the City of Surrey’s rules around conflict of interest.
Surrey Police Union President Rick Stewart, in response to media inquiries, on Monday released the following statement:
“The future of policing in Surrey will impact the public safety of residents for generations to come and it is critical that elected officials presiding over the policing transition process are above reproach.
“At the November 7, 2022 City Council meeting, Mayor Brenda Locke declared that she was bringing back the Office of the Ethics Commissioner to “help protect the integrity of the city and give residents a sense that there is oversight in decision-making.”
“City of Surrey Council Code of Conduct Bylaw, 2020, No. 20020 clearly outlines the parameters, rules and expected protocol for City Council Members. Specifically, Section 20 states: “[a] Council Member shall rigorously avoid situations which may result in claims of pecuniary interest, conflict of interest or bias,” while Section 32 provides that “[a] Council Member shall not attempt to obtain a benefit from the City for a Family Member.”
“The Surrey Police Union (“SPU”) is now fully aware of the way in which Surrey Connect City Councillor Rob Stutt’s conduct since being elected fails to meet these standards.
“On November 14, 2022, Councillor Stutt voted in favour of a motion to end the transition from the RCMP to the Surrey Police Service. The final vote tally was 5-4. Further, on January 30, 2023, Mayor Brenda Locke appointed Councillor Stutt as the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, which she claims will offer a new standard for accountability and oversight over the RCMP should it remain as Surrey’s Police of Jurisdiction.
“Throughout the public discourse prior and subsequent to this motion, Councillor Stutt has never disclosed that the RCMP employs his son in the Surrey Detachment, nor has he ever declared that his daughter is assigned to the RCMP via secondment from the City of Surrey. Referencing the Code of Conduct, Mr. Stutt failed to notify the Chair of all City Council meetings (Mayor Brenda Locke) and recuse himself from participation in the debate and vote on the aforementioned motion.
“As such, SPU submitted a formal request to the Office of the Surrey Ethics Commissioner to investigate Councillor Stutt’s alleged breach of the City of Surrey’s rules around conflict of interest. This is essential to ensure the sanctity of all decision-making surrounding Surrey’s policing future.
“In spite of the ongoing search by Surrey City Council for a new Ethics Commissioner, SPU trusts that this request will still receive the attention it deserves considering the magnitude and timely nature of the matter in question. SPU hopes that today’s (February 27, 2023) Ethics Commissioner Selection Committee meeting will help to expedite this investigation.
“Surrey residents’ faith in public safety is essential to upholding the quality of life within our city. SPU is advancing this request in support of maintaining and enhancing public trust.”