Elected Positions: Roles & Responsibilities
Learn about the roles and responsibilities for the office of mayor, councillor and school trustee.
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 mayor's powers include:
- To provide leadership to council, including by recommending bylaws, resolutions, and measures in support of peace, order and good government of the city in relation to the powers conferred on council by any act;
- To communicate information to council;
- To set 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;
- To look at the conduct of municipal officers;
- To return for reconsideration a bylaw, resolution or proceeding of council;
- To run and keep order at council meetings, and deciding on the points to discuss.
Each year council must, from amongst its members, designate councillors to serve on a rotating basis as the member responsible for acting in the place of the mayor when the mayor is absent or otherwise unable to act, or when the office of the mayor is vacant. Under the current Council Procedure Bylaw, each member shall serve for a period of up to two months. The acting mayor has all the powers and duties of Mayor, including attending and opening various events held in the city on behalf of and representing the mayor.
The mayor and eight (8) councillors sit on city council. Council is the governing body for the City of Surrey.
Among the functions of city council are to contribute to the development and evaluation of the policies and programs respecting the City’s services and other activities, to adopt bylaws governing matters delegated to local government through the Community Charter and other provincial statutes. Council looks to improve and sustain 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; and
- 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 cannot make a decision on behalf of council.
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 101 elementary schools, 20 secondary schools, five student learning centres and three adult education centres.
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 (7) members of the community (six voted in by the City of Surrey and one voted in by the City of White Rock) who have been elected to make decisions for the best delivery of education to learners, while making sure tax payers’ dollars are well spent. Once elected to a board, trustees must commit themselves to learning about the interests and views of students, parents, school district management, teachers and public education agencies such as francophone and first nation authorities.
Among the tasks of the school trustees are the following:
- To determine educational goals and priorities;
- To set district budgets according to those goals and priorities;
- To establish policies;
- To plan for the future of the district; and
- To communicate with the people of Surrey and White Rock on educational matters.