Is the mayor’s office stacking Toronto’s boards with lackeys?

Is the mayor’s office stacking Toronto’s boards with lackeys?

(Image: rnvk from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool) 

A lot of the decision-making that keeps Toronto’s services running doesn’t happen at city hall—it happens at the boards that oversee agencies like the Toronto Public Library. Those boards are made up of citizens and councillors, and it looks like the mayor’s office is taking a greater-than-usual interest in the process, stacking boards with Conservative loyalists and allies of the mayor.

According to the National Post:

The city’s Civic Appointments committee is at present interviewing candidates for the library board, and is apparently not looking at re-appointing those who are there now.

“None of us have received interview invitations,” says Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, the vice-chair of the library board. “I wasn’t sitting there with bated breath. Still, I think the library board has functioned quite well.”

Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler, who also led the charge for a compliance audit of Mr. Ford’s election campaign expenses, said the current board does not see how the library can cut 10% from its budget for next year, as per the request from the Mayor’s team.

It’s no shock that a staunch critic of Rob Ford’s—and a guy who’s responsible for the mayor facing some serious legal trouble—is not getting rehired for his unpaid city gig. But the process hasn’t stopped at cutting out Ford critics. According to the Toronto Star, the mayor’s office has been finding lackeys well-qualified individuals who just happen to be Conservative fundraisers and volunteers to handle all sorts of jobs—at the Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Licensing Commission, for example.

We could beat our usual drum of pointing out that this is exactly what political parties do, so nobody should be surprised that increasingly partisan Toronto is heading in this direction. But it isn’t exactly a model of good governance either, and we only need to point out the fiasco of how the federal Conservatives blew up Rights and Democracy as a good example of what not to do. Even conservatives—and especially the mayor—should take note of the fact that that little disaster cost taxpayers more than a million dollars.

• Ford accused of stacking public appointments [Toronto Star]
• Citizen members of Library Board likely to get bounced next month [National Post]