Security Detail

April 30, 2015

With today’s release of the City of Toronto’s Ombudsman’s Report, An Investigation Into Toronto City Hall Security, ombudsmanwe’re sure to get another dose of noise from our Tales of the Mayor Behaving Badly tickle trunk. Just comes with the territory when you elect a drinker and drug abuser to public office. Messy shit happens.

And no question, messy shit happened, lots and lots of it.  Much of it reported earlier. Except I don’t remember hearing previously about security helping then mayor Rob Ford drive out of City Hall unnoticed while he was clearly under the influence. Aiding and abetting drunk driving, that is.

D’oh!

There I go, veering off onto the salacious detail trail. It’s so easy to get sidetracked. One could argue that, collectively, we got sidetracked for 4 years, caught up in the weeds and muck of scandal.

The thing to focus on in this Ombudsman’s report is not the instigator, the belligerent provocateur, but instead, how the system coped with a situation that the Ombudsman, Fiona Crean, referred to as ‘without precedent’. In short, it didn’t. Slightly less short, individual front line security officers were left to their own devices to deal with the unprecedented demands and overreach of the mayor’s office on them. forestforthetreesManagement, city management, did little to counter the belief that the mayor was the “head of the city” (339, page 58), so could not really be challenged by security.

In other words, individual security officers were hung out to dry by management, allowing the mayor to run roughshod over procedures and protocol. When management finally did respond, it was frequently too late and reactive. The mayor blew past all established boundaries, and in the process, redefined them.

Yeah, well. What are the chances of this city ever electing a crack smoking, drunken stupor falling mayor again, asked while regularly looking back over our shoulder, wondering if this is the thing that will re-ignite Ford Nation again. Fool me once, shame on you, etc., etc.

“It is behind us, the city’s moved on,” Public Works and Infrastructure Committee chair Jaye Robinson (and noted no friend of the Ombudsman’s office) responded when asked about the security report. Yes. Let us never speak of this again.

The thing is though, Ms. Crean and her staff have revealed not just specific structural flaws in how City Hall provides security but very basic, fundamental flaws, starting with, Who’s in charge here? nothingtoseehereNowhere in the City of Toronto Act, in the position of C.E.O. of the corporation of the City of Toronto or as head of city council, does it say a mayor can hijack City Hall security for his own personal use. The fact that, in this case, some security personal felt intimidated about reporting their interactions with the mayor out of fear of some sort of retaliation from him or his office (350, page 60), and when reports were written, they weren’t filed properly from the same reason, takes this far beyond this one mayor at this one moment in time.

Another mayor might look at this, see the matter of sheepish compliance in the face of the perceived power of the mayor’s office not only from the lower echelons of the public service but upper management itself, the very top of the city’s bureaucracy, and try to push the envelope in other, more troubling ways. Like say, I don’t know, procurement practices, for instance. The mayor lets it be known to the pertinent city department that he’s got an acquaintance with a business that would be perfect for job X. No pressure, you understand. Just a heads up from the “head of the city”. abuseofpowerHow about appointments to the various civic agencies, boards or committees? There’s this lovely lady, a good friend of a good friend. A great fit on the X board. Just some friendly advice from the “head of the city”.

Of course, we have rules against that sort of thing, just like there are rules about the role of security at City Hall. But if they are ignored, if those in charge of enforcing the rules, especially those sitting at the very top, look the other way, then those rules are meaningless, nothing but computer bytes and marks on a page. Rules made even less meaningful if, upon receiving a report detailing the flouting of those rules, our elected officials chose to undermine and attack the offices and staff empowered to investigate and report the abuse of those rules.

That’s why today’s report is important, why it can’t be simply put up on the shelf to collect dust, filed under just another episode of the Ford Follies. Mistakes were made, system failure detected. We need to reinforce the concept of just who exactly is the “head of the city”, underlining the fact that, no, no, it isn’t the mayor, any mayor.

securely submitted by Cityslikr

 


A Letter From Our Mayor (With Some Early Edits)

April 25, 2014

mayorrobford

Dear Friends (Folks, really. But I’m trying to be all mayor formal here.),

Over the last few days, we have heard a lot of talk about Toronto Community Housing. (Disregard everything you’ve heard. All of it was lies, political smear jobs and witch hunting.)

I am here today to ask people to put politics aside (Politics in its original meaning, meaning views of those who oppose or disagree with me. Look it up.) and look at what is best for both the staff, and the residents of Toronto Community Housing. (FORD MORE YEARS! FORD MORE YEARS!)

Four years ago, Toronto Community Housing was in a state of disarray – overspending, ineffective operations, and a culture of entitlement (David Miller. BOOGILY-BOOGILY!!) meant that the TCH didn’t work for the people it was supposed to serve.

fordnation

Over $90,000 spent on 2 Christmas parties, chocolates, manicures, and boat cruises, just to name a few items. (Please avert your eyes from the nearly $1.4 million increase in severance payouts since I became mayor over the previous 3 years. Nothing to see there.)

When I became Mayor I vowed to clean up this mess. (And build subways. And make no service cuts, guaranteed.)

We made some tough decisions that were necessary to get things working again. (Which totally explains why both the state of good repair backlog and waiting list for housing at the TCHC has increased during my time in office… No, wait. It doesn’t. Never mind. Delete! DELETE!)

Working with the Board a new CEO was hired and new senior management – with strong and clear mandates (Remember, folks. Having a mandate means doing whatever you want to do regardless of rules and regulations. Sometimes that even means kicking out old freeloaders who don’t pay their rent. There’s no ‘t’ or ‘c’ or ‘h’ in free lunch.) – to make Toronto Community Housing work for the people of Toronto.

evictoldpeople

Eugene Jones has done what was necessary to root out the people at TCH who were working in an environment of entitlement. (Burn, burn, BURN, BURN IT TO THE GROUND!!!!) He is bringing people on board who see the work that needs to be done, they are getting it done, and they are the right people for the job. (Team players. Team Ford players. God bless Ford Nation.)

Eugene Jones was brought to TCH to clean up a mess. (It’s messy, cleaning up messes. You can’t clean up a mess without creating a mess. Without a mess to clean up, you can’t clean up any messes.) It’s a simple as that folks. (Never ever think anything is complicated. It only leads to having to clean up messes.) Corruption (Completely different from cronyism. Corruption leads to messes. Cronyism cleans up messes.), waste, and poor service to tenants were major problems and Eugene was told to clean it up. He has done an excellent job in doing so. (Didn’t I tell you to ignore those increases in state of good repair backlogs and housing waiting list?)

texaschainsawmassacre

Tomorrow morning, the Board of Toronto Community Housing will meet to decide the future of Eugene Jones. The meeting starts at 8:00 AM at their head office, 931 Yonge St, just north of Yonge & Davenport. (8a.m. is a bit early for the hardest working mayor Toronto has ever had. I’ll be there in spirit, and even then, probably late.)

Come out and show support for a man whose key message has always been to Put The Tenants First. (Bet you didn’t know that, did you? Because I just made it up for this letter.) Show your support for Eugene Jones. (Never mind. Show your support for Eugene Jones by re-electing me this October so I can re-hire Eugene Jones. FORD MORE YEARS! FORD MORE YEARS! ME AND MR. JONES! ME AND MR. JONES! But I’m totally not playing politics with this.)

As always, please contact me at 416-397-FORD (3673) or email me at mayor_ford@toronto.ca if I can ever be of assistance to you. (And I’m desperately trying to replace that voters’ list I lost in one of my drunken stupors, probably.)

robfordbellicose

Yours truly,

Mayor Rob Ford

 

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

Mayor Ford’s Four Priorities:

1 Customer Service Excellence (Through Creating A Culture Of Fear)

2 Transparent & Accountable Government (The Ombudsman Has To Go)

3 Reduced Cost and Size of Government (See Point 1. It’s Just Basic Math)

4 Transportation City (Subways, Subways, Subways)


Rules Are For Others

April 23, 2014

Let’s suppose for a moment that the Toronto Community Housing Corporation is a big steaming pile of a mess. fierybuildingsThere is evidence to support such a supposition. Hundreds of millions of dollars in state of good repair needed. An impossibly long waiting list of prospective tenants. Tales of cockroaches, bed bugs and fire inducing hoarding.

Let’s also suppose that the fault for all this lies solely with TCHC management. The rot starts at the head, it is said. There is less evidence to support such an assumption but go with me on this for a bit. There were all those chocolates a few years ago. Spa retreats. Yaddie, yaddie.

Something stinks here. Something’s broken. All the king’s men and all the king’s horses…

So obviously, what the TCHC needs is a good shake-up. An ol’ fashion ass-kickin’. Names will be taken later but right now, all bets are off. These HR rules and regulations are what got us into this pickle in the first place, creating a cushy culture of complacency and cosy comfort. Time to bring the pain. Hello, culture of fear.

We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!yosemitesam

Terminate with extreme prejudice.

Even if we’d arrived at such a situation, even if such measures of disregard for protocol and standard operating procedure that the Ombudsman uncovered under TCHC CEO Gene Jones were effective outside of the movies or a flagging sports franchise (and listening to the interview with Schulich School of Business professor Alan Middleton on Metro Morning, it seems highly dubious they are), even if you adhere to some variation of the ends justifying means, what exactly were the ends? Surely Mr. Jones and other members of the TCHC board had a plan, an and then what. We shake this shit up and then..?

If there was some kind of strategy, some method to the madness, to the culture of fear, it hasn’t seemed to have surfaced. The logical follow up to the untendered hirings and firings without cause has yet to make itself evident. shakeitupWe await the appearance of the omelette after the breaking of all those eggs.

Order needs to be restored. Otherwise this just seems like summary executions for the sake of giving the appearance of something being done. Filling the depleted ranks with loyalists and call it The New Team, Under New Management. Fine. So, now what?

Besides, if such a purge was necessary to get the TCHC house in order, as they say, why ignore the rules that were in place to do it? If you have to fire people without cause, maybe you should take a moment to think about it first. Just because is another way of saying without cause. Just because is a pretty flimsy foundation. It’s awfully close to just because I can.

Unless Gene Jones can stand up to public scrutiny and explain why he did what he did since taking over the TCHC, citybuildingand what exactly his plans are going forward because of the course of action he has taken, this simply smacks of petty tyrant shit. A man with no plan except to show up, terrorize the staff into submission, surround himself with loyalists he doesn’t even have the confidence in to subject them to normal hiring practices. Because… well, because… that’s what he was hired to do.

If Gene Jones has no plan other than to wreak havoc on the TCHC, it is simply the sad reflection of the man who remains in his corner, defiantly. Let’s face it. Mayor Rob Ford’s approach to governance is no more extensive or involved than just that. Wreak havoc. Instill a culture of fear and intimidation. Surround himself with friends, allies and toadies to help him out in his righteous indignation with government. The Ford way.

The mayor’s never made much pretense in his attitude toward social housing and City Hall’s involvement in it. Privatize. Sell it off. Vouchers for tenants to contend out there in the free market. Governtexaschainsawmassacrement shouldn’t be in the business of…

You’ve heard that song and dance before.

I imagine in Mayor Ford’s eyes, Gene Jones did absolutely nothing wrong. He’s a doer not a talker. He gets things done, shakes it up a little. And if there’s a mess left behind, it’s hardly the fault of Gene Jones. It’s just further proof that anything government gets involved in just turns to shit. That’s what governments do best. Gene Jones, not unlike the mayor, is simply another victim to the ruinous presence of government in our lives.

obligingly submitted by Cityslikr


A Sad Reflection

February 18, 2014

Last week, the Ombudsman, Fiona Crean, released her office’s 2013 annual report. badnewseveryoneIt did not paint a pretty picture of the interface between the city’s bureaucracy and its residents. Complaints were up 28% over 2012 with a solid majority of them having to do with ‘poor communications and inadequate information provided by city staff.’

“It’s not returning phone calls, it’s rudeness,” Ms. Crean stated, “it’s problems that need fixing in a timely fashion such as basement flooding, where no responses are occurring or little to no explanation is provided.”

That probably only serves to confirm what many already believe about our civil servants. Unhelpful. Lazy. Rude. Overpaid and underworked, the lot of them.

It may be worth pointing out, I think, 2013 contained more than a few unexpected and unwelcome turn of events that put undue pressure on city services. The torrential rain of early July and the ice storm in late December spring immediately to mind. While no excuse for bad or uncooperative behaviour, especially if these so-called 100 year type storms begin happening on a more frequent basis, it would be charitable to chalk up at least some of the problems in communication and inadequate information provision to staff being caught both unprepared and undermanned for such unexpected turn of weather events.

As the report points out, there are more than 2500 vacant positions currently in the ranks of the city’s civil service. complaintsWe hear about the big ones, the chronic shortages in departments like planning. Gapping, is the euphemism used to suggest that short staffing is a temporary situation. Let’s just get past this little rough patch. Then we can start filling the roster back up.

While it may warm the cockles of the cold, cold hearts of everyone who sees four guys gathered around one pothole in the road as proof the city is bloated with useless workers, the success of any municipality ultimately lies in its ability to provide residents with day-to-day services. That can’t be done on the cheap or without the necessary number of bodies to deliver the necessary services. Or, at least not yet, with robots. Believing otherwise is simply wishful, ideological thinking.

“There’s no question that resources are tight,” the Ombudsman said. “It’s a difficult time to be a public servant. The stress is tremendous, but there’s never an excuse for poor communication.”

Obviously one of the prerequisites to working for the city, particularly if it’s a job interacting directly with the public, should be a certain grace and unflappability in the face of even the harshest of approaches by those you’ve been hired to serve. complaints2It comes with the territory. Being surly or unfriendly only feeds into the anti-bureaucracy sentiment that bubbles perpetually just below the surface in the public’s imagination.

Interestingly, the report suggests that the antagonism isn’t purely a one-way street. “…  complainants are becoming more hostile,” the Ombudsman writes. “Citizens have shouted at and cussed her staff, and security has had to be called to intervene.”

Ms. Crean generously talks about that dynamic in terms of people becoming more desperate. “There are more frustrated residents,” she told reporters which “may reflect ‘growing social inequality’”.

“We have more complaints from seniors, from people who are poor, from people with disabilities, people with diminished capacity.”

“People are becoming poorer; the waiting list for subsidized child care is over 15,000 now. The number of working poor has spiked from about 16 per cent to 21 per cent.”

“The greater the marginalization, the more residents depend on public services.”complaints1

And it probably doesn’t help when there’s an administration at City Hall that has forged its reputation as gravy stoppers. As much as the Ford team has picked away at perceived councillor extravagances like office budgets, snacks and retirement parties, it has also hit on, time and time again, finding efficiencies. No matter how many reports are paid for and come back telling everybody that the city runs a pretty tight ship and operates near peak efficiency, there’s always more to cut, more to slash and burn.

That’s the services you want and those that provide them to you, folks.

Never mind the fact that the mayor and his dwindling band of supporters consistently vote against all those things that the Ombudsman believes are making people more desperate and cranky. Subsidized child care. After school and nutritional programs. A continued lack of funding for the repair backlog for TCHC with a preference for selling off its stock instead.texaschainsawmassacre

It’s a double sided machete of underfunding programs and services while berating and belittling city staff for not providing those programs and services with a smiling face and peppy personality. Demanding excellent customer service without any sort of support for the chances of doing just that.

Little wonder everybody involved is cranky, frustrated and more than a little stressed out.

complainingly submitted by Cityslikr


The Clown Prince And Queen Frances of IsSheSerious?

November 2, 2012

The easiest thing to do these days when covering Toronto city council is simply to end with a panache of loathing, a figurative throwing of hands in the air and shop worn variation of the Shakespearean quote, “A plague on both your houses!”

Council meetings are often bogged down in partisan rancour although, in fairness and in the end, they always do wind up clearing their often times bulky agenda even if it does take them three days instead of two. It’s seldom pretty. It’s rarely graceful. But the business of the city is being taken care of.

Which, in reality, is quite a testament to the majority of councillors since we have a chief magistrate and his administration firm in the belief that governance suffers from a governing problem. Of course this is a circus, folks. We’re politicians! What else would you expect from us?

The opposition party is in control and has no idea how to actually run things because that would take having an open mind toward the efficacy of government. Few of them do. There’s nothing affirmative in their approach. It’s simply about no. no, no, no.

Mayor Ford is much more comfortable behind a microphone as a radio talk show host or on the football side lines than he is chairing a committee or speaking to items. His councillor-brother assumes the private sector does everything better than the public sector and gives that sales pitch at any opportunity that arises. The budget chief faints at the sight of large numbers.

But none may represent the vacuity of leadership and embrace of maladministration within Team Ford better (or would that be worse?) than its self-appointed QB, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, and council Speaker Frances Nunziata. It’s almost as if they were adopted and appointed for no other reason than to make the mayor’s bad behaviour look better by comparison. If his primary intention upon assuming office was to discredit the very notion of municipal government, the elevation of councillors Mammoliti and Nunziata to positions of power and visibility should be considered one of his only unqualified measures of success so far.

Immediately, partisan hackles are raised and examples of outlandish opposition antics are raised. What about Councillor Gord Perks getting all in Mammoliti’s face on camera? No question. Deplorable. But he subsequently apologized unequivocally at council. Intemperate displays of loutishness are not confined just to the right side of the political spectrum at City Hall. It’s just the regular, almost like clockwork and always near operatic occurrence of it from the Ford Administration that makes it seem so commonplace.

As Speaker, Frances Nunziata is supposed to bring a degree of decorum to the proceedings. An even-handed voice of reason and unbiased arbitrator, the role is that of a referee. Keep everything moving along and dealing with infractions in the fashion of blind justice.

Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Hectoring, nakedly partisan, she has maintained the fractious, contentious tone bestowed on council chambers by Don Cherry in his inaugural address. Worse still, the speaker doesn’t seem to have a handle on the procedural rules of the place. Things stop and start based on her mercurial whims that staff seem reticent to rein in for fear of having everything ground to such a halt that it might never get started again.

If Speaker Nunziata gave a shit about the appearance of propriety, she would’ve handed over her gavel to the Deputy Speaker during the contentious debate over the Ombudsman’s Report which dealt with the questions of civic appointments at the Civic Appointment Committee, a committee the speaker was chair of. How does that not smack of conflict? Instead she harassed critics of the process, coddled the defenders and used her role as speaker as a soapbox to editorialize.

The only upside to Frances Nunziata’s role as the council speaker is it keeps her off the floor of chambers in the capacity of councillor to a minimum. Her speaking times frequently double in length, punctuated as they are by a succession of her colleagues standing on points of privilege and order to correct the wildly inflammatory statements she makes. On Wednesday, she stood up to her critics, accusing them of using hearsay and innuendo to undermine the appointment process. The former mayor David Miller was guilty of “interfering every day” she claimed, citing no evidence to back it up.

A dictionary for the speaker, STAT! She evidently doesn’t know the meaning of ‘hearsay’ or ‘innuendo’.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that her performance paled in comparison to Councillor Mammoliti’s. Let’s just say it provided a fitting complement to it because, when he decides to let fly (and he does regularly), Councillor Mammoliti is without peer in delivering nonsensical rhetorical bombast. Which – guilty pleasure confession – kind of makes him a soft spot for me. Am I alone in my love of having a performing monkey?

Who else (aside from Councillor Ford) would have the gall to stand up with a list of names in his hand that he claimed a month earlier did not to exist and refer to it as “so-called”?  No one else challenged the authenticity of the list. There was no doubt about where it came from. Lots of questions about its intent but not its existence. Still, for Councillor Mammoliti it was “so-called”.

His 5 minute incantation of the words ‘Halloween’ and ‘candy’ and ‘witch hunt’ was truly Dadaesque in delivery. There was no internal coherence or logic. Just words spewed forth to mock and demean the office of the Ombudsman and incite the ire of his colleagues into defending Ms. Crean and the validity of the report she delivered.

See? We’re all crazy down here in the Clamshell. No need to take us seriously.

This is why we have to continue striving to distinguish between constructive and destructive debate and governance. While nothing in Chris Selley’s article about this week’s council meeting was at all factually incorrect, it suggests an equal culpability in the shenanigans going on during the meeting. “… four-and-a-half hours of councillors hurling accusations, counter-accusations and countless points of personal privilege at each other. At last, they had The List. Blood would be spilled. Edifying, it was not.”

No, it wasn’t but the blame for that should hardly be dished out evenly. Some members of council bear much more responsibility for degrading the discourse and, unfortunately, most of them are part of the mayor’s team. Adding further insult to that injury, such a sorry state of affairs seems to be their default and preferred position.

fairly submitted by Cityslikr


Compromised

October 31, 2012

If you’ve ever wondered why this city council moves at such a (pre-climate change) glacial pace and never seems to get much done, you need not look any further than yesterday’s meeting. Yes, there was the usual procedural wrangling in setting up the order paper. That’s just a thing. And a longer than necessary debate over whether or not to cut out early tonight for Halloween. (For the record. Why not? They’ll make up the lost time by going longer on Thursday. Their job isn’t a standard 9-5 one. Flexible working hours shouldn’t be begrudged).

No, what really ground the proceedings to the halt were two items, both of which amounted to cleaning up the mess created by the mayor’s previous intemperate and ideological outbursts.

First up was the passing of Councillor Ana Bailão’s working group report on the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Putting People First. This all came about due to Mayor Ford’s open hostility to the idea of public housing and his orchestrated attack on it during his initial swell of support in the early days of his administration. Manufacturing a crisis over some perceived excessive spending by the board, he ousted the lot and replaced them with another TCHC hater, former councillor Case Oootes.

Their plan for a massive sell-off of homes — ostensibly to help put a dent in the corporation’s massive backlog of capital repairs — met fierce resistance from a majority of council. Instead of unloading 675 single family homes that the Executive Committee had recommended back in January (Ootes had suggested 900 on his way out in June 2011), council went with just 55. Added to the 56 sold earlier, that’s but a fraction of what the mayor was hoping to accomplish and we should view with much suspicion his statement that the report “was a good start”.

But nonetheless, it was proclaimed a compromise victory for Mayor Ford, proof that he was learning to work with council and was growing into his role. Never mind that it took nearly two years to accomplish because of the extreme approach he adopted at the very beginning. It is a one-time fix, a band-aid solution to a growing problem the city’s going to have tackle again, probably sooner than later.

Of course, that process looked like the very model of nuanced governance compared to what followed.

The renewal of the city’s Ombudsman’s contract for a second 5 year term should’ve been effortless. A quick item dealt with, bing, bang, boom. Why would there be a fuss? No one had any complaints about the job Fiona Crean was doing.

Oh wait.

The mayor did.

After her office issued a report citing his office’s interference with the Civic Appointments process, he declared war. Unable to refute any of the report’s findings, he decided to kill the messenger and threw a contract renewal after her first term was up next fall into question. It was pettiness and score settling at its worst.

Now, you would think that a majority of councillors would be able to nip such vindictiveness in the bud like they had on the TCHC file. But here’s a good example of the modest powers bestowed on the mayor’s office being put to ill use. According to provincial legislation, council requires 30 votes to renew the Ombudsman’s contract and there was enough concern that 15 councillors might be craven enough to do the mayor’s bidding on this.

Thus, the 2 year extension “compromise”.

Hours after the matter should’ve been settled, 41 councillors voted in favour of the extension, almost all of them with high praise for the job Ms. Crean was doing. Nice work. There’s no reason whatsoever you shouldn’t be getting a 5 year extension but… you know… the mayor… we had to throw him a bone… you know how it is when the chief magistrate hasn’t a clue about the job he’s supposed to be doing… We’ll talk again in 2014, OK?

Compromise!

It wasn’t.

It was just another example of finding some sort of way for Mayor Ford to save face after he, yet again, stepped into it. A huge time suck spent to placate a mayor who threatened to overturn the applecart if he didn’t get his way. With over 100 items on their agenda, once more council pissed away the better part of a day mending fences the mayor had impulsively ripped up for no apparent reason other than he could.

Respect for the taxpayers indeed.

impatiently submitted by Cityslikr


What Part Of Having A Mandate Don’t You Understand?

October 26, 2012

On a Thursday afternoon the mayor of the country’s largest city is out of the office, engaged in unofficial business, coaching football. It’s the second anniversary of his winning election. He’s spent much of the morning talking up his accomplishments that are all far less impressive than he or the Toronto Sun make them out to be. The rest of the day he’s had to fend off two new reports from two of Toronto’s Accountability Officers, suggesting that he’s (once again) violated council Code of Conduct as well as politically interfered with civic appointments process. There’s now a list to prove it.

Taking time from that busy schedule, Mayor Ford let it be known just what he thinks about Accountability Offices who are breathing down his neck.

“You don’t need a lobbyist register [sic], an ombudsman and an integrity commissioner. They have 20 people, they’re tripping over themselves. They’re trying to make themselves look busy. I’ve never voted in favour of it and never would.”

Then as if to prove he really hasn’t the slightest fucking clue about any stinkin’ Code of Conduct violation or why the Integrity Commissioner rang him up this time, he proceeds to quite possibly (question: are the Accountability Officers considered ‘staff’?) violate the Code of Conduct (Article XII) one more time for good measure.

“It’s all just political,” he tells reporters, referring to the Integrity Commissioner’s report while standing on the sidelines. “It’s just nonsense if you ask me.” Asked if he thought the report was politically driven, he agrees “absolutely”. The Ombudsman’s report too.

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.”

I guess it’s as easy to believe that the mayor hasn’t read the Code of Conduct as it is to imagine he just doesn’t understand it. Cold comfort either way. And let’s not forget that he’s spouting off about the political nature of the Integrity Commissioner while getting ready to coach a football game on a Thursday afternoon during the course of a normal working week. It’s almost picture perfect in irony. The mayor, taking yet another Thursday afternoon off from the job he’s being paid to do, views any and all criticism of his actions as nothing but political.

Why aren’t you at work, Mayor Ford?

Why are you being so political, asking me that question?

We can talk all night and into the weekend about the blatant hypocrisy of the mayor’s musing about axing the city’s Accountability Offices, having run on a platform of cleaning up City Hall and overseeing a transparent and.. ahem, ahem.. transparent administration. But it doesn’t really matter since it’s a non-starter. The Ombudsman and Integrity Commissioner are provincially mandated as part of the City of Toronto Act, another document I assume the mayor hasn’t read.

The huffing and puffing and pouting is simply an attempt to vilify the Accountability Officers and discredit in the court of public opinion any report that criticizes the mayor. That approach is simply more palatable to Team Ford than ever, ever admitting to any wrong doing. History has shown that they only do that under extreme duress and when there’s no other way to weasel out from accepting the responsibility of their words and/or actions.

Comments about getting rid the Integrity Commissioner, Ombudsman and Lobbyist Registrar (or anyone with any idea they disagree with – “Why does he still have a job?” Councillor Doug Ford said with his outside voice about the Medical Officer of Health on their radio show) have a slight Stalinist whiff. The former Soviet tyrant apparently stated that dealing with an opponent was easy. “Death solves all problems. No man, no problem.”

The mayor is suggesting we kill the positions that hold our municipally elected officials accountable.

Which is why even his most ardent supporters should be running for the hills on this one, for fear of getting coated with the grease from such a self-serving statement. Even the Deputy Mayor can see that.

“It almost seems that if there weren’t any Fords, you wouldn’t need any accountability officers at all,” said Councillor Doug Holyday. “You certainly wouldn’t need them to the extent that you have them, because half of what they do seems to be revolving around complaints made about the Fords.”

Exactly, Mr. Deputy Mayor. End stop. Let’s move on, shall we?

No, wait. What? No. No! Stop talking now!

“Well, that’s just the opposition’s way of trying to put pressure on Ford and knock us off our agenda.”

**sigh**

Look. (Awkward analogy alert!) Accountability is like pregnancy. You can’t be in favour of a little accountability.

To continue to defend the mayor by brushing off the damning reports as nothing more than cheap politics is to wrap yourself in an increasingly thick cape of tin foil. Sure, some of the complaints lodged might be politically motivated but to suggest the findings of the Ombudsman and Integrity Commissioner that come down unfavourably against Mayor Ford are politically driven is nothing more than twisted partisan logic. It is as reckless an attitude toward our democracy as the mayor’s seems to be.

As they say, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it must be a duck. The simplest explanation for why Mayor Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug, constantly find themselves in trouble with the Accountability Officers is because they’re doing something wrong. How be we just insist they start playing by the rules and if that’s not possible for them, let them live with the consequences.

frankly submitted by Cityslikr