Smaller government be damned: Ford’s first budget grows ranks of city staff
One of the biggest ways that Rob Ford said he would be able to reduce city spending was to hire only half as many people as left the city’s payrolls every year. The city lost six per cent of its staff through retirements and firings every year, and Ford would hire only three per cent back. It turns out there were a lot of things wrong in those assumptions—including Ford’s numbers on attrition—and there’s enough inertia in Miller-era hiring decisions that Ford’s first budget will actually grow the ranks of city workers by 447.
According to the National Post:
Most of the additional jobs — 405 — are for capital projects, such as modernizing the Pape and Dufferin subway stations. The city’s day-to-day operations shed 470 positions, but proposes adding 518, which makes for a net increase of 48 positions, or 0.1% over last year’s operating budget. Staffing in the water, solid waste and parking authority budgets shrunk.
The bulk of the new positions are for the Toronto Transit Commission.
If approved, the combined operating, capital, water, solid waste and parking budgets would hike temporary and permanent positions to 53,336 positions, up from 52,888 in 2010, according to documents the city released Monday.
Ford’s critics were quick to pounce on this, with former budget chief Shelley Carroll saying Ford has been “getting hoisted on his own petard,” which is one way to put it. Another would be to say that this is what happens when the simplicity of campaigning meets the complexity of actually running a city of two and a half million people. People who said that Ford’s budget plan simply didn’t add up—people like Marcus Gee in the Globe and Mail, among oh so many others—ought to be feeling pretty good right now. The budget process will continue at least until late February.
As usual, we can’t help but wonder what this means going forward. Will Ford’s commitment to cutting the budget through attrition mean even more severe cuts next year, as people have been saying? Or will Ford’s new-found flexibility last until then? We suspect we’ll soon discover exactly how much, or how little, room council has to make deep cuts.
• City will hire an additional 447 people this year [National Post]
• Mayor’s foes attack slight increase in city jobs [Toronto Sun]
• Ford the cost-cutter adds to city’s payroll [Globe and Mail]
5 thoughts on “Smaller government be damned: Ford’s first budget grows ranks of city staff”
Next year’s budget should be interesting!
Pouncing on Rob Ford bcos of “Millers era hiring inertia” is just plain wrong.
Get real people! What is it with everyone looking to slam the “only” politician
in a real long time, that is actually looking for ways to keep monies in our pockets, rather than spending it on special interest projects & bloated gov’t.
This poor guy is going to find so many cans of worms, thanks to the Liberals!
And are you going to blame him each time he finds them? He’ll deal with it.
Cut him some slack. Sheeeesh!
Cut him some slack? He’s simply being measured against his campaign pledges. Should candidates be allowed to make any claims they want during a campaign and not be held to what they said?
His campaign was based on the idea that there was hundreds of millions of dollars in obvious waste and that he’d decrease spending but he found a drop in the bucket of savings, has to hire outside consultants to find the waste he was elected to find and spending and hiring have increased!
His pledge was to start trimming the workforce by 3% starting with his first budget, not by the end of his term. If anything, his supporters should be the most vigilant in holding him to his pledges, not making excuses.
“Inertia in Miller-era hiring decisions”? What does this even mean? I love how all of Ford’s backtracking is David Miller’s fault. Ford was on council for 10 years – he should have had a pretty good grasp already of what the situation was. Of course, if he had bothered to attend budget meetings, he would have had that ‘good grasp’. How a 10 year veteran can claim not to be aware of the situation, any situation pertaining to city affairs, is beyond me. I suspect we’ve only seen the beginning of Ford’s excuses. Look for him to start blaming the province for not taking over the TTC.
For some reason all the Ford supporter’s comments sound especially weak today. I knew they’d find excuses for him and blame it all on Miller (who, by the way, is not a Liberal).
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