Answering To No One

At a meeting with Mayor Ford to discuss his reply, he acknowledged that at the time of the radio program he had not read the Walking and Cycling Report in full, although he had been briefed on it by staff. Mayor Ford acknowledged that he had not read the Ontario Public Health Standards, 2008 (the “Health Standards”), published by the Ministry of Health to guide Ontario mandatory health programs.

From the Integrity Commissioner’s latest report to find Mayor Ford in yet another breach of an article of the city’s Code of Conduct, I’ve bolded the portion which, for me, epitomizes this administration’s whole approach to governing. Half-cocked. Ill-thought out. Oblivious. All with a hardy helping of complete and utter disregard and disinterest in the rules of the democratic process.

The mayor and his brother go on their Sunday radio show, slag a city staff report without actually having read it, then proceed to demean and vaguely threatened the staffer who wrote it. “Nuts, nuts, nuts,” the mayor called the report’s proposal to lower city speed limits to 30 k/hr. He then referred to the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown’s salary as “embarrassing” and promised to “look into it”. Councillor Doug got into the act, wondering “Why does he [McKeown] still have a job?”

Article XII of the Code of Conduct requires members of Council to “be respectful of the role of staff to provide advice based on political neutrality and objectivity and without undue influence from any individual member or faction of the Council. Accordingly, no member shall maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation of the prospects or practice of staff, and all members shall show respect for the professional capacities of staff.”

It’s bad enough that their churlish outburst stems, at least in part, from a shocking lack of knowledge about protocol, the basic dos-and-don’ts of behaviour for an elected official but then, as this morning’s other bombshell from another of the city’s Accountability Officers, the Ombudsman, shows they refuse to admit to any wrongdoing. Instead, they chose to obfuscate, bluster and lash out in attempts to smear anyone who questions them.

Remember earlier this month when the Ombudsman issued a report citing the mayor’s office interfered with the civic appointments process? During the investigation, it was alleged that the mayor’s office had sent around a list of candidates they wanted appointed to various posts. A no-no and one vigorously denied by committee members, councillors Ford, Mammoliti and Nunziata.

“You went on in your report continually about these lists and how people talked about lists but the lists were never provided,” Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said to [Ombudsman Fiona] Crean, grilling her at city council. She admitted not having a list in hand but was convinced that enough people had confirmed its existence under oath and subpoena to make it a likely possibility.

Hah!

Hearsay and innuendo.

Except now, Ms. Crean does have the list.

That’d be what you’d call a gotcha.

Now, any reasonable politician would view the news as problematic and very likely something that should be addressed head on. But as we all know by now, that’s just not how the Fords roll. Full steam ahead, half-cocked, ill thought out, oblivious, bluster set to stun.

On the radio today, talking about his first two years in office, Mayor Ford basically gave any of his problems the Sinatra shrug. Regrets? I’ve had a few. But then again, too few (minor) to mention.

His brother did him one better, dialing up the denial and derision button to eleven. In response to the Integrity Commissioner’s report, Councillor Ford basically flipped her the finger. “I’m just going to give the integrity commissioner 10 sheets that say, ‘I, Doug Ford, apologize to — a blank name — for anything that I’ve said in the past and anything I’m going to say in the future.’ I’ll just sign it, and she can just fill in the name.”

I learn nothing. I apologize for nothing. You can’t make me. You’re not the boss of me.

Half way through this administration’s maladministration, we shouldn’t be surprised by such petulance and impenitence.  Their sense of entitlement is simply off the charts and they exhibit an absolute nonchalance toward following the rules their colleagues must follow. If anyone’s at fault, it’s everyone who insists on calling them out on their bad behaviour.

You do it too. Everybody does. Prove it. We don’t have to. We say it. So it’s true.

Par for the course.

Still, I find it difficult to believe that even a media organ like the Toronto Sun (yes, the Toronto Sun) can continue to be so blasé toward such egregiously outlandish conduct from our elected officials. In an editorial today, the Sun delivers what it views as a ‘fair assessment’ of Mayor Ford’s performance so far. Only one paragraph is dedicated to the mayor’s shortcomings while in office — “…too stubborn, too confrontational and too pre-occupied with coaching his high school football team…” – and without a single reference to his continued running afoul of the city’s Accountability Officers. Not one.

It’s almost as if, for the mayor’s most ardent supporters, the notion of democracy, transparency and accountability are beside the point. Winning should translate into unhindered power to do whatever it is you think you were elected to do. Demanding they follow the rules is little more than bad sportsmanship and cry baby whining from their ideological opponents.

The Fords are merely taking advantage of that sentiment. Unless we do something about that, we have nobody to blame for the state of affairs but ourselves.

disconcertedly submitted by Cityslikr

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