Debating the Future of the TTC Board
Mayor and opposition councillors clash over who should run the TTC.
From the Executive Committee: A 9-member board composed of 5 private citizens and 4 councillors. One of those councillors, chosen by city council, would serve as chair, and a private citizen would serve as vice-chair. (Full text [PDF]) –> REJECTED
From current TTC Chair Karen Stintz: An 11-member board composed of 7 councillors (to be chosen now) and 4 private citizens (this summer). The chair and the vice-chair would be councillors to begin with; once the private citizen members were appointed, one of them would be selected to serve as vice-chair. (Full text) –> PASSED 29-15
Michael Thompson: A 9-member board composed entirely of private citizens. (Full text) –> REJECTED
NOMINEE (NOMINATED BY)
Maria Augimeri (Mike Layton)
Raymond Cho (Giorgio Mammoliti)
Josh Colle (Glenn De Baeremaeker)
Gary Crawford (Norm Kelly)
Glenn De Baeremaeker (Josh Colle)
Peter Milczyn (Mark Grimes)
Cesar Palacio (Gary Crawford)
John Parker (Karen Stintz)
James Pasternak (Gary Grawford)
Jaye Robinson (Michelle Berrardinetti)
Karen Stintz (John Parker)
Glenn De Baeremaeker
Karen Stintz (CHAIR)
6:49 PM: KAREN STINTZ RE-ELECTED AS TTC CHAIR. Vote was 24 for Stintz, 19 for Milczyn, 2 absent.
6:44 PM: Both Milczyn and Stintz decline to speak. Balloting for chair begins.
6:42 PM: Joe Mihevc nominates Karen Stintz “with great pleasure.” Mammoliti nominates Raymond Cho, Grimes nominates Milczyn. Cho declines the nomination. Mammoliti: “you used me Raymond, you used me!” Each nominee can now make a speech of up to five minutes.
6:39 PM: They are currently reading every single councillor’s ballot. Once that’s done, they more on to deciding who among the seven new board members will be the TTC chair. (Prediction: Karen Stintz)
6:37 PM: Worth noting: by most standards, this board has a lot of political diversity. Stintz, Parker, and Milzcyn are all centre-right councillors, who have all backed Ford on any number of key issues.
6:35 PM: And that, above, is the list of the newly selected TTC board. What does this mean for Ford? He was trounced. TTC now is comprised of the four councillors who defied him on Gary Webster (Augimeri, Milczyn, Parker, Stintz), plus one centrist (Colle) and two left-leaning councillors (Cho and De Baeremaeker).
5:51 PM: Councillors are writing in the names of the selections on neon green ballots. They’ll be collected by the clerk, then probably a bit of a delay as they are tallied.
5:48 PM: City clerk reminds councillors that the votes are NOT anonymous, and will become part of the public record. Everyone will know how everyone voted.
5:42 PM: Last up, Gord Perks. He declines the nomination, and then Shelley Carroll rises and does so as well. This, almost certainly, is a bid by the centre-left coalition to solidify votes amongst a smaller number of candidates. Write in candidates are permitted, however, so their names may yet return. (If right were feeling spiteful and they could muster the votes, they would use this to get someone on the TTC board who doesn’t want to be there.)
5:39 PM: Peter Milczyn: Has served on the TTC for a term and a half, and “I think there’s something to be said for continuity.” Says he always votes his conscience on an issue-by-issue basis, and will continue to do so.
5:37 PM: Gary Crawford: we need to return to an attention to detail on the TTC—cleanliness, daily experience, etc.
5:34 PM: Jaye Robinson self-identifies as another daily transit rider, says transit is one of the reasons she ran for council.
5:32 PM: Mary-Margaret McMahon “respectfully declines” the nomination. She has a TTC storage facility slated for her ward (she is opposed to it) and will be “watching that issue like a hawk,” from the sidelines. Says she will also be pushing for a Downtown Relief Line and a waterfront transit line.
5:27 PM: James Pasternak: “Almost on a daily basis, I’m riding on the TTC.” Think he’s the first one to actually say anything like this. “There is no single solution for making up for 25 lost years of transit.” Says we need to pick transit modes based on what’s “appropriate” in each case. (He is a staunch advocate for a Sheppard subway west connecting the Yonge line to the University-Spadina line at the top of the map.)
5:25 PM: Josh Colle: “At the end of the day, most of my residents want to know why the Dufferin bus is delayed again.” Says that it’s easy to latch onto the headline-grabbing policy issues, but he’s concern with making transit actually run well.
5:23 PM: Cesar Palacio also cites his experience on the outgoing TTC board.
5:22 PM: Glenn De Baeremaeker: “Whatever the future plans for transit are, they come through my ward.” (He serves Scarborough Centre. Ford walks in slowly as he speaks, looking stoic.
5:21 PM: Maria Augimeri emphasizes that she has been trying and will continue trying to protect Finch. (Most speeches have been very short.)
5:20 PM: John Parker: “I simply offer up my record of service as commissioner over the past 16 months, and extend my thanks… It’s been an honour serving with you.”
5:17 PM: Karen Stintz speaks of what the TTC has accomplished this term so far. “Together, we have…” is the recurring structure of her speech, leaning heavily on the concept of collaboration at council. “When I asked my colleagues to place trust in me they did,” she says, as she thanks councillors for making her chair in the first place.
5:17 PM: Raymond Cho considers himself a creative and open-minded thinker. He values the environmental benefits transit provides, and has residents in Scarborough who need representation as we plan new infrastructure for that part of the city.
5:16 PM: Shelley Carroll: the TTC is the circulatory system of the city, and it needs to be guided by the principles of transportation planning, married by the fiscal realities the City faces.
4:58 PM: Moton by Janet Davis that citizens who have or can be “reasonably expected” to have business with the TCC be precluded from sitting on the board.
4:57 PM: Motion by Shelley Carroll that councillors who are not members of the TTC board be able to attend private (closed to the public) sessions as observers PASSES 40-4
4:56 PM: Motion by Shelley Carroll for a number of oversight and review mechanisms for the new board PASSES 42-2.
4:55 PM: MAIN MOTION BY KAREN STINTZ PASSES 29-15
4:52 PM: MOTION by Anthony Perruzza that council actively seek appointees who have an “understanding and/or experience with TTC operations.” PASSES 32-12
4:51 PM: MOTION by Janet Davis, that appointees be chosen with the help of a professional recruitment agency. PASSES 38-6
4:50 PM: MOTION by Kristyn Wong-Tam calling for the citizen appointees to “ensure representation that reflects the diversity of the population they serve.” PASSES 39-5
4:48 PM: MOTION by Chin Lee, that citizen members of the board make $5,000/year; vice chair makes $10,000; and everyone gets a per diem of $450 for each meeting attended. PASSES 28-16
4:34 PM: Procedural note! Once they finish with the current debate, councillors will vote on all these competing proposals for the structure of the TTC board. If the result of that vote is that they opt for a proposal that includes councillors as part of the TTC board, they will then engage in a process of nominations, speeches, and voting as to who will actually serve on the board.
4:20 PM: David Shiner has a motion! It suggests an 11 member board with 5 councillors, 4 citizens appointed by council, one citizen appointed by the province, and one citizen appointed by the federal government. (Note: it is not remotely within the City’s power to compel other orders of government to appoint anyone to anything.)
4:06 PM: “Are you serious with your motion or is it some kind of joke?” Raymond Cho to Frances Nunziata. Much laughter. A few minutes later, after more questions from other councillors, Nunziata: “This is fun! This is like the comedy hour!” And then, more seriously, “What I’m saying is forget the will of council—let the province make the decision.”
3:58 PM: Frances Nunziata has a motion! “That City Council request the province to transfer responsibility for the TTC to Metrolinx.”
3:43 PM: “You know how people around here say ‘there is only one taxpayer’? Well you have been taking the taxpayer to the CLEANERS… The war on the car? That’s a catchphrase for BURNING MONEY.” An angry Anthony Perruzza.
3:35 PM: If what we were looking for in a TTC board member is transit experience, the person we’d recruit would be Gary Webster, says Adam Vaughan. He suggests we use those positions to incorporate various groups of riders (such as the disabled) and give them a bigger voice at the TTC.
3:33 PM: Another sometime Ford ally, Peter Milczyn, says he won’t be backing Thompson. Unclear whether he will back the Executive Committee or Stintz proposal for a mixed board. “This has not been anybody’s finest hour,” he adds sadly.
3:18 PM: Mike Layton using his speaking time to call for having citizen board members who represent riders and communicate day-to-day rider issues directly. (He will be backing Stintz’s motion.)
3:08 PM: Janet Davis moves a motion that would preclude anyone who might do business with the TTC from serving as a private citizen member of the board.
2:51 PM: Shelly Carroll moves a motion that calls for various review procedures to assess the new TTC board (whatever it is).
2:44 PM: Based on the councillors who have spoken so far, it’s looking good for Stintz’s proposal. Key centre-right councillors (John Parker, Gloria Lindsay Luby) are backing her, so Ford doesn’t seem to have changed many minds.
2:41 PM: Josh Matlow, who may have thrown a real wrench in the works for Stintz when he spoke to the Globe on Friday and passed on a slate of names for the TTC board, speaks for the first time today. Unsurprisingly he’ll be backing Stintz. He says that all the councillors in the room are there “as the result of a civic appointment process, an election,” and that the TTC needs to move forward with leaders who base their decisions on evidence, no populism.
2:30 PM: A secondary debate has opened about the appropriate level of compensation for the private members of the TTC board. We now have a variety of motions on the pay scale, ranging from $5,000/year to $15,000/year. Those in favour of a lower pay say this will attract people who are genuinely interested in public service; those opposed counter that this will eliminate large portions of the population who cannot afford to spend real time on the TTC without compensation to match.
2:23 PM: After some procedural asides, debate has resumed. First speaker is Gloria Lindsay Luby, generally a right wing councillor. She, however, signed the petition that convened the special meeting on transit last month, and though she was absent from the meeting itself this was an indication she backed light rail. Today she says she favours having a majority of councillors on the board.
2:08 PM: Steve Munro point out: Odd that criteria for proposed “public” ttc members is all business and tech, no riders or socioeconomic view. “Citizen” input? No way!
1:44 PM: Balloting procedures! A few details haven’t been confirmed, but here is the rough outline of how voting will proceed:
- Any councillor can nominate him or herself for the TTC board; nominations do not need to be seconded.
- Once all the nominations have been received by the City Clerk, each nominated councillor will have up to five minutes to speak. Councillors will speak in alphabetical order.
- Once everyone has spoken, all councillors will receive a ballot with all the nominated names. Each councillor gets as many votes as there are open spots on the TTC board. (For instance, if council accepts Stintz’s proposal, and there are to be seven councillors on the board, each councillor gets to vote for seven names.) No duplicate votes and no ranked ballots—just a straight list of choices.
- The ballots are tabulated. All councillors who receive a majority of votes become part of the board. If, say, only three of the seven available seats are filled at this point, councillors get a second ballot, and vote for the four remaining seats. The process repeats until all the seats on the board are filled.
12:32 PM: And with that, time for lunch. Council will reconvene at 2 p.m.
12:26 PM: “Nothing means more to the people we represent than the relationship between the transit system and where they live.” Gord Perks, on why political representation is essential for the TTC. “Appointed committees do not carry accountability back to their communities and experience negotiating different interests,” he says. And then: “You know what you do if you want professional expertise? You hire a professional chief general manager and you listen to him.”
12:20 PM: Some more details on how public appointments would work (this is common to all proposals):
- The process would be guided by the City’s Public Appointments Policy [PDF]
- All appointees would serve “at the pleasure of council,” which is to say council could remove them if it chose to.
- Council would specifically seek out candidates who “have directorship and executive-level experience and collectively represent a range of skills, knowledge and experience with one or more large organizations in the following areas: strategic business management, including transformative change management; financial management, accounting, law, engineering; customer service or marketing management; management or planning with a rail or public transit organization; formulation and/or management of public-private partnerships; capital project/construction management or capital procurement/supply chain management; operations and information technology; and labour relations/industrial safety management.
12:11 PM: “With reluctance,” right-leaning councillor John Parker says he will be supporting Stintz’s motion. “What this situation calls for is a reset button,” he explains—the “situation” being that the commission and council are right now at loggerheads. “What we can’t cope with and what we can’t tolerate is waiting another three months for the next shoe to drop.” Everyone has worked hard, he says, the mayor and Stintz alike. But consensus hasn’t been reached, and a new board that will work productively with council is necessary.
12:05 PM: Giorgio Mammoliti is angry about how downtown treats the suburbs, gives fiery speech (“Take your views and leave them where you live!”) that culminates in him calling colleague Anthony Perruzza an idiot. Boos. He apologizes, sort of. Goes on to say that LRT is being rammed down the throats of Finch residents.
11:57 AM: Shorter Adam Vaughan, who has just questioned Michael Thompson on his motion: so you want to depoliticize the TTC by introducing political appointees?
11:43 AM: Procedural geekery! Stintz’s motion calls for the TTC board members—the seven who come from council—to be chosen by ballot. The mechanics of how this will work are not entirely clear; much consultation of the procedural bylaw currently in progress.
11:33 AM: And now Michael Thompson is introducing his motion for a citizen-only board. “This is a game-changer, no doubt. Politicians have fumbled transit in this city. We have not been able to bring the professional expertise that’s needed,” he says.
11:21 AM: “This can’t be about revenge,” says Joe Mihevc, rising in support of Stintz’s motion. This isn’t a vendetta driven by the firing of Gary Webster, but a necessary corrective so the TTC Board and council can work together rather than undermine each other. A former vice-chair of the TTC, Mihevc is widely reported to be very keen to serve on the board again. “The TTC is about social inclusion,” he says, and it’s important to have political representatives who are aware of residents’ needs and can make decisions that facilitate increasing equality in Toronto.
11:19 AM: Karen Stintz has just introduced her motion. “Our commission isn’t functioning well,” she said. “We do need to have a commission that is reflective of the will of council.”
11:14 AM: Denzil Minnan-Wong tells reporters he will not be putting his name forward for reappointment to the TTC, surprising many.
11:03 AM: Just getting underway at City Hall, the debate about how the TTC should be governed. Councillors are now asking staff questions about the technicalities of various governance models, and about precedents for them both in Toronto and elsewhere. Currently, the focus is on the structure of the board—specifically, whether private citizens or councillors should hold the majority, and what the implications of an all-citizen board would be. Should councillors opt for a board structure that includes at least some councillors, debate about which councillors serve on that board is expected to last through the afternoon.