Rob Ford’s chief of staff leaving mayor’s office, but will still be around to kick a union or two

The Globe and Mail’s Kelly Grant broke the news late Friday night that Nick Kouvalis, Rob Ford’s chief of staff and the mastermind of his election win, is leaving the mayor’s office to take a less demanding position. (Kouvalis’ family lives in Windsor, and he’s presumably going to be spending more time with them.) The mayor’s office would like to emphasize, however, that Kouvalis will still be working for the mayor on some special projects—like privatizing garbage collection in Toronto.

“He’s going to be leaving as the chief of staff, but he will still be part of the team,” Mr. Ford said late Friday. “We’re going to get the subway done, we’re going to finish that deal and then he [Mr] is going after the garbage.”

“Nick’s tough. He was a union guy for nine years. He knows how they play ... he’ll be part of the negotiation team. It’s going to be good, it’s going to be exciting.”

Mr. Kouvalis, a Conservative strategist from Windsor, Ont., was the architect of Mr. Ford’s election victory. He was appointed chief of staff shortly afterwards.

Somewhat amusingly, when Now’s Enzo di Matteo confronted Ford’s office with rumours of Kouvalis’ departure back in mid-December, there was an unequivocal denial from Ford spokesperson Adrienne Batra. “Let me be as clear about this as possible… There is no modicum of truth to the rumour.” But the Toronto Sun says this has been planned for “a really long time.” (Thanks to Jonathan Goldsbie for that.)

So as a warning to Toronto city council’s left: any plans to re-enact the opening scene from Wicked (“No one mourns the wicked / No one cries, they won’t return!”) should probably be postponed until sometime after Kouvalis has returned to Windsor, having vanquished the city’s waste management staff. Those skeptical of Kouvalis’ political abilities should remember two things: 1) he’s not above uttering a death threat to get what he wants, and 2) he made Rob Ford the mayor of Toronto, which a lot of people thought impossible, as well.

Rob Ford’s chief of staff stepping down [Globe and Mail] • 2 senior staff leaving Ford’s office [Toronto Star]Ford’s chief of staff quits [Toronto Sun] • Nick Kouvalis, the man behind the Ford campaign [Globe and Mail]


Sign up for This City, our free newsletter about everything that matters right now in Toronto politics, sports, business, culture, society and more.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.
You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Big Stories

The Battle for Leslieville: Gentrification, opioids and murder in the city’s most divided neighbourhood
Deep Dives

The Battle for Leslieville: Gentrification, opioids and murder in the city’s most divided neighbourhood