Core Services Review Review

July 11, 2011

As interpreted by outside consultants KPMG, results of the Ford Administration’s core services review streamed in this morning. Yes, I’m calling it the ‘Ford Administration’s’ core services review rather than the City of Toronto core services review since the survey from which the results are emerging was designed more along the lines of Mayor Ford’s thinking than a more city wide perspective. As usual, Matt Elliott at Ford For Toronto pulled at the loose ends of the information gathering process last month and found it lacking. One of the major problems as André Bovee-Begun in the Torontoist saw it was the survey “… suffers from inherent political biases.”

What might those ‘inherent political biases’ be? The survey was designed with limited options for answers, amounting to what the Toronotist titled, You Can Say Anything We Want. Essentially, your choices were ‘Maintaining the Quality’ or ‘Lowering the Cost’ of city services. If neither of those struck your fancy, you could put down an electronic shrug of your shoulders.

Unsurprisingly, we’re hearing precious little demand for improving the quality of services even if it means raising taxes. The mayor’s spokes people will point to this as proof that the city is onside with their plans, conveniently ignoring the fact that other options were never on the table. Torontonians Said Everything Team Ford Wanted Them To Say.

But wait. The mayor’s spokes people? Surely the mayor himself will be front and centre announcing the results of his core services review. This is his baby. His legacy. What’s this talk about his spokes people?

Yeah well, it seems that this is the summer of Mayor Ford’s silence. He seems to have checked out of office along with all the other school children when their terms ended in late June. According to Don Peat of the Toronto Sun, Budget Chief Michael Del Grande and Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, will put on the face of Team Ford in response to the KPMG report. Good cop, bad cop with the budget chief berating us that We. Just. Don’t. Have. The. Money. Everything. Is. On. The. Table. while Councillor Minnan-Wong will calmly say exactly the same thing but it will sound more reasonable and sane because he’ll say it in soothing tones.

What has become quickly obvious from this first report is that the mayor has no interest in finding efficiencies at City Hall (the proverbial Gravy) and is intent only on cutting services. As the Torontoist reported this morning, “KPMG did not assess the effectiveness or efficiency of City services. Assessment of how services are delivered is envisioned to be conducted through separate efficiency reviews. KPMG did not conduct financial analyses of programs and services to identify potential savings.” Instead what we are looking at, at least in terms of Public Works, is an already efficient department (most of KPMG’s recommendations are looking at up to 5% in cost reduction, half of the 10% budget cuts the mayor is demanding of all city departments) facing cuts not increase in efficiencies.

This is a far cry, a far, far cry, from what candidate Rob Ford continually claimed on the campaign trail last year. He guaranteed us that, if elected mayor, he’d stop the Gravy Train by rooting out alleged inefficiencies without having to cut services. Guaranteed it, remember.

Now, less than a year later, if reports are to be believed, he doesn’t even have the intestinal fortitude to step up and admit that he lied. Or misspoke. Or didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about.

This should hardly come as a shock or surprise to anyone who’s been following along. Unfortunately, it’s standard operating procedure for conservatives these days. Until recommendations become implementation, we’ll save our ‘I told you sos’ to the Ford Nation.

submitted by Cityslikr