Toronto Community Housing CEO booted from her job, but oh-so-many questions remain
In news that was about as inevitable as this morning’s “subways hosed down after St. Patrick’s Day festivities,” Toronto Community Housing Corporation CEO Keiko Nakamura was fired by Rob Ford’s hand-picked housing czar, Case Ootes, yesterday. Nakamura was basically the last woman standing after the Fords engineered their Night of the Long Knives last week in council, so this seems to put the TCHC more or less directly under Ootes’s control and, less directly, under the control of the Fords.
Councillor Doug Ford, Mayor Ford’s older brother, said overall, the decision to have Ms. Nakamura leave is “absolutely” a good thing.
“People want accountability. They want transparency. And there was a lack of transparency, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “And I think 90 per cent of the people in Toronto felt the same way. There’s rules in place and people have to apply them. And the board of directors has to be accountable.”
But he wouldn’t comment on whether Mr. Ootes will appoint Ms. Nakamura’s successor.
“Case is more than capable of putting things in place. We’re going to get the board in place and move forward, find a new CEO and change the governance… Over the next four or five weeks we’ll be updating you.”
There are now all sorts of questions about what the future holds for the TCHC. Opposition councillors are concerned that the doors for privatization have been opened up and that the Fords will try and push through a Shock Doctrine–style “reform,” but that would be a tall order for the three short months Ootes has before the new TCHC board is hired. The more likely scenario—if it’s likely at all—is that the Fords will engage in a longer privatization process once they have a new, more obedient TCHC board in place. (Giorgio Mammoliti, pick up the white courtesy phone—the mayor is calling.)
The more immediate question we have for the gravy-hating mayor: what did this prolonged tantrum about the TCHC cost the city? Nakamura was making more than $200,000 before she was fired—did she get three months’ severance pay? Considering nobody has seriously alleged that she was responsible for the misspending at TCHC, this seems like an expensive and unnecessary sacking.