Did You Know Our Budget Chief Is A Chartered Accountant?

September 9, 2011

Anyone who follows us regularly here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke knows we possess little good will toward our budget chief, Councillor Mike Del Grande. We don’t care for his politics. His gruff, curmudgeonly demeanour is not in the least bit lovable. On top of that, he’s from Scarborough… That’s a joke. Some of our best friends reside in Scarborough. OK, that’s not true either. Point is, we have nothing against Scarborough. But the axe is huge that we have to grind with Mike Del Grande.

Our dislike of him is not entirely pathological. We are willing to step up and say, hear, hear, councillor, well done. Which is what we do now. According to the Toronto Star’s Royson James, Budget Chief Del Grande admitted freely and openly that the mayor’s move to seize waterfront land through the Toronto Port Lands Corporation is all about the money. “The truth, [Del Grande] said, is he needs revenues from the sale of the Port Lands to fix holes in his budget. In essence, a money grab.”

There it is, up front and out there. Team Ford has turned its beady eyes toward the waterfront in the hopes of a quick cash infusion to plug upcoming budget holes. Simple as that. Kudos, Mr. Budget Chief, for cutting through what amounts to all the other bullshit and pretend rationalizations.

An honest to goodness thanks from us to you.

Our admiration and gratitude is cut short, however, with the knowledge that this course of action is something the budget chief approves of. David Hains of The Clamshell took him to task in our comments section in yesterday’s post and we can’t offer up much of anything further but do think it bears repeating. Over and over and over again.

“But while Del Grande is honest,” Hains writes, “he’s not principled. He frequently mentions his CA — a good asset on council — but any accounting textbook says you don’t solve operating deficits with one-time sales of long-term assets. Where does that leave us next year? Weren’t we promised creative and innovative solutions to make the city more efficient? Didn’t Ford, Holyday, Minnan-Wong, Del Grande, Thompson et al frequently criticize Miller for one-time cash infusions to solve the budget?”

How many public pronouncements does the budget chief make without referring to the fact that he is a chartered accountant? It is a constant refrain. Don’t worry about our budget woes, folks. I am a chartered accountant. The implication being, that anyone who isn’t a C.A. or who deigns to criticize the budget chief doesn’t know what they’re talking about, doesn’t understand the numbers he’s dealing with. Moan about all the ‘widows and orphans’ you want but a chartered accountant is obliged to only see the numbers.

You see, Mike Del Grande C.A. is all about budgetary discipline. We just want our ‘cupcakes’.  He’s the adult in the room. We’re the needy, greedy children. Our budget chief is a chartered accountant. Has he told you that lately?

As soon as he signed on to the reckless ways of the Ford Administration, Councillor Del Grande lost all credibility as a prudent fiscal manager. He voted along with the mayor to repeal the VRT, a small but not insignificant revenue stream for the city’s coffers. He agreed to freeze property taxes. He OK’d using the previous year’s budget surplus to paper over holes that he was part of creating this year. When questioned about such dubious bookkeeping practices, the budget chief, like every other member of Team Ford, blames the previous administration for any and all problems.

Literally, he passes the buck backward and is now threatening to do so forward by sanctioning a quick, cheap sale of valuable city assets for very, very short term gain. I’d like the budget chief to point us all in the direction of any of the books he studied on his way to becoming a chartered accountant (Did you know that our budget chief is a chartered accountant? I hadn’t mentioned that in almost two paragraphs.) teaching that kind of economic approach to building a solid portfolio. Cut revenue. Sell assets. Prosper.

It’s impossible to know if Budget Chief Del Grande is just simply a bad C.A. or if he’s ignoring everything he learned in school for the chance to finally sit near the seat of power or if it’s nothing more than a blind adherence to radical right wing ideology that renders his diploma meaningless. Whatever the reason, chartered accountants everywhere should cringe in embarrassment that he so publicly counts himself as part of their ranks. It gives the entire profession a bad name.

Chartered accountancy, it’ll recover. Unfortunately, I’m not as convinced the city will.

by the numbersly submitted by Cityslikr