Rob Ford: "Everything is Going Fine"
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Rob Ford: “Everything is Going Fine”

Mayor maintains his stance that business continues as usual, in the wake of two more departures from his office.

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Once again Rob Ford convened a late afternoon press conference to address the departure of staff members from his office. And once again, he framed those departures as part of the ordinary course of things in a busy office—new opportunities must be pursued, he said, and he encourages anyone who works for him to seize them when they arise. Of course, he’s just about the only one who believes that’s the cause of the fresh batch of resignations, as pressure continues to mount for the mayor to address allegations that he was caught on video smoking from a crack pipe, and has since been trying to cover it up.

The full transcript of his remarks, and the subsequent exchange with reporters:

I have met with everyone on my staff today—I think you’ve seen me walking around from office to office. I have a great deal of respect for every single person that works with me here in my office, and I have a talented and loyal group of people. They are working their backsides off; they are here morning, noon, and night;  and they’re giving it all they have. But I’ve also said to my staff “If a new opportunity arises, take it.”

I want to thank Kia and Brian for their service, they’ve been valuable members of my team. I wish them all the best in any future endeavours.

I emphasize, and I will assure you, that the work is being done, phone calls are being returned, emails are being responded to. I was elected to keep taxes low and to reduce the size and cost of government, and that’s exactly what I’m doing every single day. I’ve been interviewing candidates all week and I look forward to hiring new staff as soon as possible. Thank you very much.

And the scrum that followed…

Reporter: Have you done any illegal drugs since you’ve been mayor?
Ford: Anything else?

Reporter: Have you tried to obtain the video, sir?
Ford: Anything else?

Reporter: Are you upset that Doug Holyday says he believes there’s a tape? Are you upset that the deputy mayor says he believes there’s a tape?
Ford: Anything else?

Reporter: The Premier has suggested she’s ready to step in if needed…
Ford: I think the Premier should take care of the problems that she has at Queen’s Park right now.

Reporter: Did you mention an address to David Price?
Ford: Anything else?

Reporter: How did you know Anthony Smith, sir?
Ford: Anything else?

Reporter: What’s going on in your office?
Ford: There’s nothing going on in my office. Obviously I’m bringing in new staff, and if people have a better opportunity I encourage them to move on.

Reporter: So you’re saying five people have better opportunities…
Ford: I don’t get into personnel matters, but maybe they can answer your question better than I can.

Reporter: Shouldn’t you step aside until the air is clear on this thing?
Ford: I’m not stepping aside. I’m running in the next election, and if the great people of this city want to go in a different direction, that’s what their prerogative is. But I guarantee my name will be on the ballot. I’ll be registering the first day I can possibly register, probably January 2. I can’t wait to get on the campaign trail. I want to thank the people of this city for the outpouring of support.

Reporter: Are you worried about the reputation of this city?
Ford: No, everything is going fine. I’m keeping taxes low, I’ve save a billion dollars, we’re getting things done. If you look at what we did at the executive committee we’re going down the right path, getting council reduced to 25. We’ve saved $65 million in the services that we’re working together. This city is in better shape, for sure, than it was two years ago. Our taxes are lower than any other North American city. I’ll put our city up against anyone.

Reporter: Is it respect for taxpayers to ignore such serious allegations? Is that respect for taxpayers, Mr. Mayor?
Ford: If you watch how you spend taxpayers’ money—I watched every dime,  I continue to watch every dime, and we saved a billion dollars, reduced my own budget by $700,000, reduce council’s expense accounts by $900,000—that’s what you call respect for taxpayers.

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