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politics

Council Will Try to Cut the Mayor’s Office Budget and Remove Ford as Chair of Executive Committee

Adding to existing efforts to curb the mayor's role at City Hall, councillors are now mounting an effort to drastically reduce his budget and redeploy his staff.

Councillors rising to protest the mayor’s action at the beginning of this month’s council meeting.

The list of efforts to curb Rob Ford is growing again: councillors have now signed a petition to convene a third special meeting (in addition to the two they’ve already called) with the aim of cutting the mayor’s office budget and staff. The goal is to shrink the mayor’s office budget to the size of a councillor’s; this would enable him to retain three or four staff members and have some money for expenses. The remainder of his budget would, if this motion passes, be transferred to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly’s office. Ford’s staff would be given the option of trying to stay with the mayor or tranferring to the deputy mayor.

The motion they have presented also would temporarily revise council’s structure so that the mayor, who is automatically the chair of the most powerful of council’s committees—the executive committee—would no longer serve in that role, and would be replaced by the deputy mayor.

Yesterday councillors—who can convene a special meeting on 24 hours’ notice if a majority of them sign a petition to do so—filed paperwork for two meetings with the City clerk’s office. Those two meetings (they need two separate ones because special meetings must, according to council procedures, be dedicated to narrowly-defined issues) will look at curbing the mayor’s authority.

At the first meeting—which will begin on Friday at 9:30 a.m.—they will debate whether to strip the mayor of his power to appoint and remove the chairs of council’s various committees. (This is significant because chairs are the gatekeepers of their committees’ respective agendas—it’s a way of controlling what does and doesn’t get debated at City Hall.) That motion would reaffirm that the councillors currently chairing committees—all of whom were appointed by Rob Ford—would keep their posts.

At the second meeting, which is scheduled to start as soon as the first one ends, councillors will debate whether to strip the mayor of his role in managing emergencies, and transfer that responsibility to the deputy mayor (who, like the committee chairs, was also appointed by the mayor).

Because special meetings require 24 hours’ notice, this third meeting can’t be held tomorrow; it will take place on Monday, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The full text of this latest set of motions, which will be debated Monday:

1. City Council delegate to the Deputy Mayor all powers and duties which are not by statute assigned to the Mayor.

2. City Council reallocate the operating budget of the Office of the Mayor as follows:

a. The staff salary and office budget under the control of the Mayor be the same as that of a member of Council.

b. The balance of the operating budget be reallocated to the City Clerk’s Office to be administered under the oversight of the Deputy Mayor.

3. City Council authorize that all existing members of the Mayor’s staff be offered the opportunity to continue their employment either with the Mayor or as part of a transfer of staff to be overseen by the deputy Mayor who shall assume responsibility for staffing, including hiring and firing.”

4. City Council suspend the necessary rules and substitute new rules that give effect to the following:

a. The Deputy Mayor is the chair of the Executive Committee.

b. The Executive Committee elects a vice chair from among its own members.

c. the Mayor is no longer a member of all Council committees by virtue of office, and does not enjoy the rights and privileges of other committee members when present at a committee meeting.”

All three of these motions have a built in sunset clause, and if passed would expire at the end of this term of council, on November 30, 2014. All will need a two-thirds majority to pass. Councillors who signed the petitions calling for these meetings were confident today that they have the requisite 30 votes.

Comments

  • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

    Would that they could always pursue the best interests of the city in so straightforward and unified a manner.

  • Roy Schulze

    This is the best news I’ve heard for some time!

  • wklis

    Cutting the Mayor’s Office Budget could result in Rob dipping into his daddy’s inheritance, like he did during his councillor days.

    • Kurblick

      Most of the mayor’s budget goes towards staff salaries. Rob Ford is wealthy but I don’t think he’s wealthy enough to pay a year’s salary for most of his current staff members. The budget would still allow him to pay for 3 or 4 staff members, but not the 18 he currently has. He’d have to cut some of them almost certainly, but since he’s an all or nothing kind of guy, I’m guessing he won’t pay for any of them from his pockets.

      • HotDang

        Supposedly DECO LABELS has $100 million / year in revenue. So it’s not unlikely that the Fords could afford to pay 18 salaries. But would paying them privately and having them work on city business be allowed?

        • dsmithhfx

          “would paying them privately and having them work on city business be allowed”

          It has certainly worked in reverse.

  • mlwjones

    This could backfire…If the motion notes the office of deputy and not Norm Kelly, Ford would do a runaround and appoint Doug deputy mayor.

    • Kurblick

      No – the Mayorial budget motion on Monday comes after the motion to strip Rob Ford of his power to change committee chairs, including the position of Deputy Mayor, on Friday. Once the Friday motion passes – which I believe it will – there won’t be anything Ford can do to the deputy mayor.

      • mlwjones

        If that happens or gets close, I fear he’ll just make the change while he can. Is there a process of actually appointing executive, or is it entirely mayoral discretion? I suspect the latter, and if so, Rob will use his waning powers for maximum disruption.

        I’m *very* surprised he hasn’t dumped DMW and Thompson yet, just out of spite. They made him look even more incompetent than usual yesterday.

        There will be blood, and Robbie loves his milkshakes.

        • TorontoistEditors

          Ford could do that, but it wouldn’t stick. He could, say, appoint Doug Ford deputy mayor right now, but then council would vote on the motion stripping the mayor of the power to appoint the deputy mayor, giving it to council instead. Once that motion passes then council could replace the newly appointed Deputy Doug and revert to Norm Kelly.

          • TorontoistEditors

            (To clarify: Ford can appoint the deputy mayor and some at-large members of executive, but most of exec is constituted by the chairs of the standing committees.)

          • Kurblick

            The most likely recourse of the Mayor, and its been hinted at in the media, is to say council is breaking the law somehow. He doesn’t have to win the case – he won’t win it – but he may be able to ask the judge to put a stay on the council motion.

          • Kurblick

            Essentially a delaying tactic until the judge hears the case, which could take months.

    • Moonmoth

      I’m confident that the Councillors will have thought of that and made sure they have the necessary specifics in the motion.

    • emeraldeyes24

      But ”the Deputy Mayor is a specific person, Norm Kelly. Doug is a councillor. Surely they’e getting legal advice from City lawyers.

  • OgtheDim

    You know, it has been very refreshing to see Del Grande, Thompson, DMW and Kelly consistantly go after Ford in the last few days. Better late then never.

    His most effective critics over the last few days have been from the right. That bit with Thompson about the crack house was priceless.

    • Moonmoth

      They’re prudent right wingers. Not crack-addled, raging-alcoholic, oxycontin-popping, drunk driving, intern pussy eating, police investigated, nut bars!! I’m extremely glad they’ve stood up to him, finally – and it looks to be definitively once those motions pass.

    • dsmithhfx

      The drawbacks of being his ally began to outweigh the benefits.

  • wklis

    Rob Ford will have more time to spend as super-311-operator!

    • dsmithhfx

      He will also be joining the pantheon of learned, erudite and insightful commentators over at Sun TV…