You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!
A version of Oprah Winfrey’s famous 2004 giveaway happened for the seven most-senior officers at Surrey Police Service, which may not replace the RCMP in Surrey until the end of 2023.
theBreaker.news received a list of vehicles procured for Chief Norm Lipinski and six others in the fledgling department.
But the Surrey Police Service and Surrey Police Board both refused to release the costs on July 29.
theBreaker.news has independently confirmed that Lipinski opted on Jan. 4 for a 2020 Nissan Rogue from King George Nissan at a cost of $30,921, instead of the slightly more expensive $31,888 Hyundai Tucson from Jim Pattison Hyundai.
Deputy Chief Mike LeSage received a 2019 Ford Explorer, while the other Deputy Chiefs, Jennifer Hyland and Todd Matsumoto, received 2020 Ford Escapes.
The three Superintendents — Lavinder Mangat, Alison Good and Michael Procyk — were issued 2021 Nissan Ultimas.
Lipinski did not respond for comment.
Surrey Connect Coun. Brenda Locke, who announced she will run for mayor against incumbent Doug McCallum, wondered why the seven needed new vehicles when the force is a long way from operational.
“They’re just trying to spend money as fast as they can because they think they will get it to the point of not return, that seems to be the goal,” said Locke, who has pledged to stop the transition if elected in October 2022.
After theBreaker.news received the list under the freedom of information law, a query was made to the Surrey Police Board for routine information about the costs and whether the vehicles were purchased outright, leased or financed.
Instead of answering, executive director Melissa Granum forwarded the query to the board’s freedom of information office, which set Sept. 13 as the response date.
In an interview last year after she was hired, Granum told the Surrey Now Leader: “I agree that transparency is incredibly important to citizens and that is the lens that I will put on the work that we do with the board.”
McCallum, the politician who is driving the controversial cop swap, decided a $14,500-a-year vehicle allowance wasn’t good enough for him. So he convinced city hall to spend $46,000 of taxpayers’ money to buy him a Buick Envision SUV. McCallum regularly fills up at the civic works yard gas pumps.
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