"I cannot and will not defend such incidents," writes TTC CEO Andy Byford.
Andy Byford, the TTC chief installed after the ouster of Chief General Manager Gary Webster in February, is now beginning to wade into some of the more mundane aspects of his role as one of the commission’s public faces. For example: containing damage from the continual stream of news reports about cellphone pictures of TTC employees engaging in inattentive or risky behaviour on the job. (In fact, we posted a video of a subway driver doing something irresponsible just a few days ago.)
This morning, the TTC released a memo from Byford, addressed to all commission staff. It’s a strongly worded rebuke to all employees who tarnish the dignity of the eggplant-coloured jacket. We have the full text after the jump.
Or you could just read the memo Gary Webster released in 2010, after a photograph of a TTC collector asleep at his post became citywide news. The sentiment is identical, and we’d even go so far as to say that the prose is better. But then again, Webster had spent his entire career at the TTC and probably had lots of invective saved up. Byford—a Brit who came to the TTC from RailCorp, in Sydney, Australia—is new to Toronto. He’ll learn.
As you know, the TTC’s image and by extension, our reputation as TTC employees, is once again the subject of intense scrutiny and severe criticism by the media and the traveling public.
To be frank, we can’t complain. In recent days, photos and videos have emerged of staff asleep on the job, texting or appearing to read a newspaper while operating a vehicle, and parking illegally to get a snack. As your CEO, I cannot and will not defend such incidents. Such behaviours are not only unacceptable, they lead to even more scrutiny and potential for assault.
In my time here, I have gone on record as saying how much I respect what front line staff do and how 99 per cent of you do a great job. That remains the case and I will continue to publicly back you.
But a small minority of staff continue to wreck all of our reputations. To them I say: I will not back you, in fact I will expect you to face the consequences of your actions, especially if you put customers’ safety at risk.
Between us, we can transform our company’s reputation and stop this ongoing criticism of what we do. But we can only do this if everyone does their job professionally.
So I have given my managers clear direction: back staff to the hilt that do the right thing or who make an honest mistake. But to those few that choose to ignore safety rules or who recklessly make things worse for their colleagues by their actions, expect to be held to account.
I am convinced we can change this situation and transform everyone’s perceptions of the TTC. Please heed this advice.
Chief Executive Officer