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Toronto’s Top Civil Servant: The City is Not in Crisis

City Manager Joe Pennachetti tries to reassure municipal workers in the face of ongoing controversy about the mayor.

joe pennachetti memo rob ford

Toronto City Manager Joe Pennachetti has sent out a memo in response to Rob Ford’s admission that he has smoked crack, and all the attendant questions that have yet to be answered about the mayor’s behaviour.

In it, Pennachetti attempts to reassure municipal workers that the government is not in crisis, and that day-to-day work can and should continue. The memo was officially sent out at 8 a.m. today (though the copy we received was timestamped 4:33 p.m. yesterday) and distributed to all staff with a City of Toronto email address.

Though the memo is very guarded, Pennachetti does stand up for the police—chief Bill Blair, who has come under attack by Doug Ford—commenting that these issues do not reflect on the force. Like Blair, he also declines to share an opinion on the matter or what Ford should do, but calls the situation “unfortunate.” (Blair has said that he is “disappointed.”)

Pennachetti is not taking interviews on the state of affairs in the mayor’s office; a City spokesperson told us only that “the message speaks for itself.” Yesterday, however, Pennachetti ran into some reporters at City Hall. One, the Globe‘s Elizabeth Church, asked him “Are you continuing taking direction from the mayor?” His answer: “Have a good day.”


  • Angie Mac

    So 60% of the city says we’re in crisis, but we’re not in crisis because ….

  • Neb Kcilles

    Bollocks. The City is in a MASSIVE crisis. It just so happens that the vast majority of civil servants are honest working people and they’re managing to keep us afloat.

  • OgtheDim

    Yeah, no distraction involving the City Public Services in all this apart from….the person sleeping at their desk, the people hired by Ford, the use of city property and staff for issues not related to city business etc. etc.

    Pennachetti has a basic inability to understand what his staff at the lower levels are experiencing. We’ve seen this before. Nice guy, but ultimately he has to be a politician internally to get done what he wants to get done.

    And lets not talk about how he now has say over budget surpluses.

    • Eileen May

      And DOUG is aso on that committee.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    We’ve been in crisis for three years.

  • OpportKnocks

    People greatly overestimate the importance of the politicians in the functions of local government. They are a Board of Directors and have influence on the budget, provide strategic direction, and advocate on behalf of their constituents. However, 95% of normal city business is done without them. There is a reason that all the senior professional managers make anywhere from 2x to 4x what the elected politicians do. It is because they are knowledgeable and professional.

    • OgtheDim

      Some of us remember MFP. Yes, many are knowledgeable and professional.

      Its not guaranteed.

      • OpportKnocks

        LOL, yes Princess Wanda. She was rapidly promoted from nowhere in North York when I worked there in the 80′s. A lot of the capable Finance people that she leapfrogged quit in disgust. The real question never came up in MFP; how she got where she did and got away with what she did under Mel’s watch. Remember the guy who handled the water billing system from Rhode Island but could not be compelled to testify?
        As always,… follow the money ;-)

    • CaligulaJones

      LOCAL government? Try EVERY government. Some politicians are good, a few are great. Many are bad, some are terrible. Most are mediocre.

      I love it when someone who basically won a popularity contest (in which a majority or large minority even vote) tries to tell an experienced civil servant how to re-do everything he or she has learned in decades of service. See: Smitherman, re: Ornge, e-Health, energy…

  • Eileen May

    Business as usual?
    Just seen the second video on the Sun and Star websites.

  • tomwest

    ” Pennachetti does stand up for the police … commenting that these issues do not reflect on the force.”
    Where does it say that?

  • dsmithhfx

    Pennachetti has demonstrated himself to be a Ford tool at every opportunity. Turns out he bet on the wrong horse…