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Posts Filed Under: Politics


Time to Clean House at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Will the TCHC board do the right thing and show CEO Gene Jones the door?

Photo by Flickr user Padraic.

Tomorrow, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s board of directors is expected to respond officially to ombudsman Fiona Crean’s blistering report on human resources practices at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Will they have the courage and sense to fire CEO Gene Jones?

The highlights of the report have been well publicized. According to Crean, hiring for key roles was frequently done without holding competitions, promotions and raises were handed out to favoured staff without the required review and oversight, and long-time employees were fired abruptly without cause or explanation, potentially leaving significant knowledge gaps in the organization. In one particularly egregious case, Jones’ executive assistant was paid $107,000 in 2013 (more than the director of compliance and legal counsel), and an attempt was made to shift some of her overtime pay from 2013 to 2014 in what looks like a ham-handed attempt to keep her off of the Sunshine List.

Keep reading: Time to Clean House at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation



Where the TCHC Scandal Goes From Here

CEO Gene Jones could find himself out of job on Friday—but his supporters are starting to hit back at the ombudsman.

Photo by That Boy, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

In response to ombudsman Fiona Crean’s scathing report on hiring and practices at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the organization’s board of directors held a special meeting yesterday. No decisions were reached, however, because the board determined it needed more time to review the 111-page document and adjourned the meeting until Friday.

The report presents a damning indictment of the social housing agency’s hiring and firing practices, details arbitrary raises given to certain executives, and holds higher-ups responsible for an “abject failure of leadership” that fostered a “climate of fear” in the workplace. It finds that CEO Gene Jones made impulsive and arbitrary decisions contrary to established HR policies and procedures—policies and procedures with which he admitted he was not familiar.

Keep reading: Where the TCHC Scandal Goes From Here



Report Exposes Climate of Fear at TCHC

Damning report from Toronto's ombudsman could lead to the firing of TCHC CEO Gene Jones.

Photo by Vik Pahwa, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

Today, the ombudsman released a damning report about human resources practices at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC)—one that could lead to the dismissal of CEO Gene Jones at an emergency board meeting being held this afternoon. In the report, ombudsman Fiona Crean suggests the work culture at TCHC is governed by a “climate of fear” and finds that repeated HR violations committed by Jones and a handful of other senior executives have created a “destabilizing effect” on the organization.

The alleged violations contained in the report include:

  • Failing to disclose conflicts of interest during the hiring process. (CFO Jason Gorel, for example, sat on the board of directors while he was being considered for the position of CFO, and did not recuse himself until partway through the hiring process.)
  • Awarding positions prematurely, while job competitions were still supposed to be open.
  • Creating new jobs without providing a description of responsibilities or following the procedure for making jobs open.
  • Giving some employees raises above their pay grade, while inconsistently awarding compensation. Only 14 per cent of employees went through the proper job evaluation process linking performance to compensation.

Keep reading: Report Exposes Climate of Fear at TCHC



Duly Quoted: Councillor Maria Augimeri, on the Future of Downsview Park

Councillor wants to see the City of Toronto gain control of the park.

“Downsview is at the centre of Toronto, and as the centre moves northward, we should see Downsview as a place of reprieve and recreation, like a Central Park for Toronto. Downsview Park deserves a vision, and Downsview Park does not deserve the misdirection, indecision, and secret schemes which it has gotten by the federal government. It is time to give Downsview Park to the City of Toronto.”

-Councillor Maria Augimeri (Ward 9, York Centre), responding at a press conference today to news of a secret federal government memo outlining concerns Downsview Park might be sold, and launching the Set Downsview Free campaign, which seeks to have control of the park given to the City of Toronto.