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Newsstand: February 22, 2012

Isn't it great how the week just feels shorter after a long weekend? Tuesday is so the new Wednesday. Moving on: Gary Webster is fired without just cause; TTC riders give their two cents—but mostly grievances—at the weekly "Meet the Manager" event; LRT is opposed by the Emery Village BIA; and the Auditor General reports city employees have been fraudulent and wasteful this year, again.

It is dismal news to wake up to: TTC chief Gary Webster has been fired. The result of yesterday’s special—and largely secret—meeting of transit commissioners, had Webster voted out, 5-4. Apparently, the specific terms of his severance (a.k.a. the gravy it’ll cost taxpayers to fund the sacking of a city official without just cause) will be kept confidential, though a $500,000 figure has been thrown around speculatively. The mayor attributed the ousting of the upstanding, 35-year employee (a year before his retirement date, no less) to the “general public” wanting the TTC to “move forward.” Charming. Further proof of Webster’s decency were the composed and remarkably acrimony-free public remarks he made following the decision. Seems that not everyone is prepared to stoop to the new level of pettiness gracing us of late at city hall.

While injustice reigned at city hall last night, several TTC executives proceeded with their weekly “Meet the Manager” drop-in event. Though most TTC riders gave the usual complaints about train frequency and short-turn streetcars, apparently some weighed in on the subway-versus-light-rail showdown. And someone affectionately called the mayor “Robbie Ford.”

The Emery Village BIA in the northwest of the city has rescinded their support for building the Finch West LRT line along Finch Avenue. Although, in 2008, a BIA newsletter touted the prospect of a Finch West light-rail line for promising better transit efficiency and increasing “the magnetism of Emery Village,” the Globe and Mail suggests that the subway-loving Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who sits on their BIA, has influenced something of an about-face on the subject.

The Auditor General’s annual Report on Fraud says City employees supposedly misused a whole bunch of money last year. Like, a $939,000 bunch. Apparently, calls to the fraud and waste hotline (who knew?) have skyrocketed.

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