Who's Who on City Council
The mayor is the head and chief executive officer of the City. The mayor leads the city council and also has powers from the Community Charter. The Community Charter is a full set of principles for City-Province relations.
The mayor’s powers include:
- Making sure that the policies and bylaws for the improvement and good government of the City are carried out
- Giving information to council and recommending bylaws, resolutions, and measures that they think might help the peace, order and good government of the City in relation to the powers conferred on council by any Act
- Setting standing committees of councillors for things the mayor thinks would be better regulated and managed by a committee and appointing members of Council to these committees
- Looking at the conduct of municipal officers
- Overseeing the management of City business and affairs
- Returning for reconsideration a bylaw, resolution or proceeding of council
- Running and keeping order at council meetings, and deciding on the points to discuss
When the mayor is away from a meeting or if the Office of the Mayor becomes vacant with less than four months before an election, council must choose a member to be Acting mayor. This person has all the powers of mayor. At the start of each year the mayor sets a rotation schedule of which councillor will serve as acting mayor during any month if it becomes necessary. If the mayor’s office becomes vacant at any time before the four months before an election is held, a by-election must take place.
The mayor and eight councillors sit on city council. It is the governing body of The City of Surrey and the keeper of legislative and administrative powers, duties and functions.
The primary functions of municipal council are to establish administrative policy, to adopt bylaws governing matters delegated to local government through the Community Charter and other provincial statutes for the protection of the public, and to levy taxes for these purposes. It looks after the current and future economic, social and environmental wellbeing of its community.
The Community Charter says that the purpose of local government (council) includes providing:
- Good government for its community
- Works, services, facilities and other things that the municipality considers necessary or desirable for all or part of its community
- Control of the public assets of its community
Councillors work together to develop policies through the adoption of bylaws and passing of resolutions. They must give direction as a group at an official meeting: individual members of council can't make a decision on behalf of council or individually give direction to staff.
Council may not give special privileges or immunities to anyone unless the Community Charter specifically allows them to do so. Generally speaking, they can't lend money to corporations, give away land, guarantee loans for business purposes, or give tax reductions.
The Community Charter requires that council exercise its powers at regular or special meetings when a quorum is present. As council consists of nine members, quorum consists of five members.
The Surrey Board of Education oversees the largest and one of the most diverse school districts in BC, guiding education at 124 elementary and seconday schools.
Making educational and operational policy decisions about such a large school system requires good leadership at the local level. The board is made up of seven members of the community who have been elected to make decisions about the best delivery of education to learners, while making sure tax payers’ dollars are well spent. Each December, the board holds an election for chairperson and vice-chairperson for the next year at a public board meeting.
The main tasks of the school trustees are:
- Determine educational goals and priorities
- Set district budgets according to those goals and priorities
- Establish policies
- Plan for the future of the district
- Communicate with the people of Surrey and White Rock about educational matters.