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Rob and Doug Ford Violated Code of Conduct on Their Radio Show

Long list of failures also includes political interference in public appointments and the TTC's handling of public consultations.

Rob and Doug Ford in the studio; photo courtesy of Newstalk 1010.

A string of reports have come out of City Hall this morning—all part of next week’s city council agenda—which in turn criticize the mayor, his office, his brother, another councillor, and the TTC, for a number of infractions and failures on a variety of matters.

To help make sense of all the news flying around, here is a handy list.

  • Rob Ford: code of conduct violation. The integrity commissioner, Janet Leiper, has found that Rob Ford violated council’s code of conduct, which says that “no member shall maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation [of staff]…nor shall any member use, or attempt to use, their authority or influence for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding, or influencing any staff member” [PDF]. Ford breached this when he lambasted Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. David McKeown, on the radio show he hosts with his brother. McKeown told councillors that they should consider lowering the speed limit, which would save lives. In response, the mayor called McKeown’s salaray “an embarrassment” and described McKeown’s recommendations as “nonsense.” Ford has since offered a retraction.
  • Doug Ford: code of conduct violation. As above, this concerns the episode of the Fords’ radio show in which they discussed the medical officer of health. During that conversation, Doug Ford asked, “Why does he still have a job?” The integrity commissioner writes that “Public name-calling and/or personal attacks on staff can have a chilling effect on the public service.” Doug Ford has not offered an apology, and Leiper is recommending that city council formally reprimand him.
  • Michelle Berardinetti: code of conduct violation. Another investigation into a radio show segment—though apparently not on the Fords’ show. (The report doesn’t specify, but the air date indicates that the call would have been made to Josh Matlow’s show on Newstalk 1010.) Berardinetti was discussing the Toronto Zoo—council has been debating whether and where to move its elephants—and remarks she made about City staff were inappropriate, says the integrity commissioner. The councillor has since apologized.
  • Mayor’s office: interference in public-appointments process. A significant portion of the City’s staff and budget is managed through dozens of agencies, boards, and commissions (everything from the Police Services Board to the Toronto Public Library to the TTC). Members of the public are appointed to sit on many of those boards, and selected by councillors for that job. Last month, Toronto’s ombudsman, Fiona Crean, found that the mayor’s office had interfered with the public-appointments process, trampling on existing City policies (including diversity policies) along the way. She presented that report to council, during which several councillors called her integrity into question. One major point of contention was that her report mentioned that the mayor’s office may have circulated lists of names—that is, that they had distributed their preferences as to who got the jobs to friendly, Ford-allied councillors making the decisions. At the time, Crean didn’t have an actual copy of any such list, and she made no conclusions about whether claims about its existence are true. That list has since surfaced, as she reports in an update released today [PDF].
  • TTC: failure to conduct reasonable public consultations. After complaints lodged by a residents’ group, the ombudsman investigated the TTC’s handling of projects at two subway stations, Donlands and Greenwood, which were slated to get second entrances added as a fire-safety measure. Crean has found a “series of failures by the TTC to engage in any meaningful public consultation,” and specifically noted that “the TTC did such a poor job of communicating that it left many residents with the feeling that the TTC had already made up its mind, and was not serious about public consultation.” Crean has made seven recommendations for improvement to the TTC [PDF]. This morning, the TTC issued a statement noting that it “accepts and agrees with the Ombudman’s recommendations and acknowledges, without reservation, that these projects were not handled well by staff on two counts” (namely the public outreach and clear explanation of the plans). Both projects are currently on hold.

Toronto city council will discuss all of these matters at its meeting next week.

UPDATE 2:55 PM: Tensions haven’t calmed in the hours since the reports were first released. This afternoon, the mayor told the Globe and Mail that the real problem lay with the very existence of the accountability officers who’ve been charged with investigating complaints. Saying there were far more of them than needed, Ford told the paper that “You don’t need a lobbyist register, an ombudsman and an integrity commissioner. They have 20 people, they’re tripping over themselves. They’re trying to make themselves look busy.” The positions he listed were created by the City a few years ago, in the aftermath of the Bellamy Inquiry, which looked into the misappropriation of millions of dollars in the MFP computer-leasing deal.


  • Anonymous

    What happens now? An insincere ‘apology’ accompanied by smirks all around?

  • Joe Blow VI

    Call me naive but this matters…denigrating City staff by calling their salary an “embarrassment” and their recommendations “nonsense” reduces political debate to the level of a 1st grader and is a sure sign that he, Ford, has absolutely nothing in the mental quiver … i suppose that’s not all that surprising from a man who campaigned by attacking the less than, what, 1% of the budget that is accounted for by Councillors’ office budgets? [insert some nonsensical political slogans like gravy] yes, we’ll tackle our problems via simplistic political slogans

    • Grant Heaslip

      (30,000 / 9,400,000,000) * 44 = 0.00014. Yes, 0.014% of the operating budget, assuming every councillor spends their full allotment. That’s $0.50 a year per capita.

      When we’re talking about that little, I’d prefer councillors spend as much as they deem necessary to do their jobs (within reason). I’d rather spend a few cents more a year to know our representatives have all the resources necessary to do their jobs. Especially considering the opposite — lowering budgets to the point that councillors need to spend out of pocket — basically restricts the job to those who are independently wealthy or don’t care about doing their job properly.

  • Paul Kishimoto

    —Are the retractions issued in the same venue/to the same audience as the original remarks?
    —Why has Rob Ford not to resigned, as he should?

    • Anonymous

      The retraction was sent to the integrity commissioner, who will forward it to the complainant and then update council on developments. (Either the commissioner or the complainant could find that the retraction doesn’t fully address the concerns that have been raised, in which case Leiper may go back to Ford and ask him to provide a new one.)

      • Paul Kishimoto

        I assumed as much. It was a rhetorical question, and the implication was that any retraction not issued on-air during his show fails to alert his listeners to his bad conduct.

    • Anonymous

      More to the point, why hasn’t that judge thrown him out of office yet?

      • Anonymous

        Yes, what became of that? I thought we were going to get the verdict/sentencing/whatever at the start of October.

        • Anonymous

          The judge said he’d try to deliver his decision as soon as possible, but never actually gave a timeframe. It’s been about six weeks so far, which certainly isn’t unusually long.

  • Mike Meaford

    Some of the statements regarding Fiona Crean are misleading.

    “At the time, Crean didn’t have an actual copy of any such list, and she made no conclusions about whether claims about its existence are true. That list has since surfaced, as she reports in an update released today”.

    This is misleading. From her own report issued today Crean says:

    “The Mayor’s staff told my investigator that they had a list of applicants which was for their own purposes. The list had been generated from the names of applicants provided by Councillors from their respective wards. The Mayor’s staff [stated that they] did not share the list with anyone except the CMO [City Manager's Office] when the issue of a “confidential” list was raised by an attendee”

    From above it is clear that the Mayor’s office told her that they had a confidential list that they only shared with the CMO. She may not have seen the list but she had no reason to doubt it’s existence. The Mayor’s office was telling the truth. The CMO had a copy which was forwarded to Crean.

    The way this story is being reported you would think that Ford had this “terrible” list that he was hiding and Crean had unearthed it.

    What is the significance of the list anyway? Why did Crean have to see it?

    Is this suppose to be some kind of scandal? How? There is nothing wrong with a politician compiling a list of candidates they would like to see considered for an appointment. How do you think David Miller operated? As an example Miller appointed his buddy Alok Mukherjee to the Police Board. For all we know Crean was one of Miller’s buddies.

  • wejects

    the lack of concern over what OTHER councillors are doing is disconcerting. Obsessed with the Fords meanwhile codes of conduct are being broken by others, the process of government abused and the media wont call them out on this ie. and and These councillors allowed an anti zoo animal rights organization to WRITE city policy verbatim. They used their influence on other councillors at the request of this animal rights group to lobby on their behalf and 2 of these councillors are zoo board members. The media has ALL OF THIS INFORMATION and wont publish it. Why? Because the media supports the left and anything they do is swept under the carpet. Berardinetti posted the personal contact information of citizens homes and places of employment on her personal website to encourage animal rights activists to bully them and to intimidate opponents to the transfer of Toronto Zoo elephants to PAWS. All information was legally accessed via Freedom of Information. And yet she gets off with a slap on the wrist? Wake up people while you are all obsessing over the Fords and encouraging the media frenzy on Ford topics the rest of Council are breaking rules left right and centre.

    • Anonymous

      “Because the media supports the left–”

      Really? Are you sure?