Have Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, councillor Doug Ford, been found guilty of conflict of interest violations
by city watchdogs? Well, yes. As The Globe and Mail describes
, the mayor thinks that the proper response should be to abolish the watchdogs.
On the day it was revealed that Toronto’s mayor had again run afoul of the integrity commissioner, Rob Ford called for her office and those of two other watchdogs to be abolished because they are a “waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Next week, he and his allies will have the chance to go after their biggest enemy on the watchdog roster: Ombudsman Fiona Crean.
Ms. Crean’s contract is up for renewal at council, less than a month after she endured hours of grilling from the Ford camp over a report that concluded the mayor’s office meddled in the civic appointments process.
[. . .]
Three of Toronto’s oversight officers – the ombudsman, the lobbyist registrar and the integrity commissioner – have been busy in the Ford era, in part because the brothers have breached rules, and because they are under intense scrutiny from their foes inside and outside council.
On Thursday alone, the second anniversary of the election that brought the Fords into office, the trio released eight separate reports, two of which scolded the pair for insulting the city’s Medical Officer of Health on their radio show earlier this year.
The mayor’s response was to suggest all three offices be replaced with a single lawyer on a retainer.
“They have 20 people, they’re tripping over themselves,” Mr. Ford told The Globe and Mail before leading his high school football team to victory. “They’re trying to make themselves look busy.”
[. . .]
Ms. Crean and Linda Gehrke, the lobbyist registrar, said in interviews on Thursday that their operations are extremely lean.
Toronto’s ombudsman’s office, for instance, serves 2.5 million residents with 10 staff, significantly fewer than the 30 staff Manitoba has to serve its 1.2 million residents or the 26 Saskatchewan has to help its one million people.
[. . .]
No matter how Mr. Ford feels about the watchdogs, getting rid of their jobs would be impossible unless Queen’s Park agrees to change the City of Toronto Act, which makes the three accountability offices and an auditor-general mandatory. (The Fords have repeatedly praised the work of Auditor-General Jeff Griffiths and have no interest in abolishing his office.)