Rob Ford’s response to yesterday’s ombudsman’s report: fire the ombudsman
Every now and then we get a glimpse of what Toronto would be like if Rob Ford actually had the authority to implement his policy ideas. Tuesday provided such a glimpse.
If Ford were king of the city, the reaction to yesterday’s blistering ombudsman’s report on inappropriate hiring and firing practices at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation wouldn’t be to fire the corporation’s CEO, Gene Jones. Instead, the mayor would fire the ombudsman.
On Tuesday night, according to the Star, Ford sidestepped questions about the ombudsman’s report, instead suggesting, as he has before, that the ombudsman’s office is a waste of money. “[Ombudsman Fiona Crean] and the integrity commissioner, the lobbyist registrar—those three accountability officers cost millions of dollars,” he said on Newstalk 1010, to the Toronto Sun‘s Joe Warmington. “So I don’t think they’re needed. I think there might be one person that could do all three.”
This is the guy who recently referred to himself as “the most open, honest, fair, hardworking mayor that this city has ever seen.” And now he’s suggesting eliminating an office dedicated to rooting out administrative improprieties. Ford’s position makes a certain amount of sense, because he has staked his reputation on Jones’s performance. One of the mayor’s first acts after assuming office was a clean sweep of TCHC’s leadership, following a spending scandal. If the corporation is now worse for the wear, it reflects poorly on him.
Not that any of this really matters. The ombudsman, the integrity commissioner and the auditor general aren’t going anywhere. Their existence is mandated by provincial legislation. The ombudsman’s office isn’t even particularly expensive: it will cost the city about $1.6 million in 2014.