Mark Towhey Out as Rob Ford's Chief of Staff
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Mark Towhey Out as Rob Ford’s Chief of Staff

Reasons for dismissal not yet clear.

Mark Towhey (left) with Rob Ford during Tuesday’s casino debate at City Hall.

For reasons that are not yet clear, Rob Ford has fired one of his closest advisors, chief of staff Mark Towhey. Reporters who were standing outside the mayor’s office at City Hall this afternoon were surprised to see Towhey departing unexpectedly, escorted by security. As he left he spoke very briefly, saying “I am no longer the chief of staff, I did not resign.” He was asked whether he gave the mayor any advice about how to handle the recent allegations he was caught on video smoking crack cocaine and making racist and homophobic slurs; Towhey said he did, but that advice would remain confidential.

Towhey was appointed chief of staff in August, 2012; before that he served as the mayor’s director of policy and strategic planning. During his time working with the mayor, Towhey was known for his strong small-government views (he advocated shutting down many TTC bus routes and auctioning off popular lines) and for his rough behind-the-scenes handling of councillors when trying to whip votes for the mayor.

A few minutes later the mayor’s office released a brief statement:

Effective immediately, Mark Towhey is no longer working in the Office of the Mayor. Mr. Towhey has been a intricate [sic] part of the Mayor’s Office and has made many valuable contributions. The Mayor thanks Mr. Towhey for his valuable service and wishes him the very best in his future endeavours. Earl Provost, Deputy Chief of Staff, will assume the role of Acting Chief of Staff until further notice.

UPDATE, FRIDAY MAY 24, 10:30 AM: According to multiple reports, sources inside the mayor’s office say that Ford fired Towhey out of frustration with the latter’s attempts to get the mayor to go into rehab.