After watching his second consecutive city budget get rewritten on the fly by his colleagues on council last week, Coun. Mike Del Grande stepped down from his post as budget chief. He quit suddenly, prompting a messy round of finger pointing and blame.
Even worse, his resignation came only a day after the budget chief had to sit in council chamber and watch as Mayor Rob Ford — his boss — voted to blow up the budget Del Grande had spent thousands of hours pulling together over the last year. Ford surprised everyone when he supported a wildcard motion by Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti to freeze property taxes for 2013, based on an assumption that the city could replace that lost revenue with a floating casino.
Thankfully, in his bid to support Mammoliti’s casino boat, the mayor lost. The next day, he lost his budget chief, too.
[. . . Del Grande] was also loyal, sometimes to a fault. Translating the vague and often contradictory ideas coming out of Ford’s office onto his budget ledger had to be a frustrating task, but Del Grande did his best to make it work. And he stood by as a reliable vote even as the mayor exploded the goodwill and command of council he was elected with. Through it all, Del Grande was there to support the guy who hired him.
It’s just too bad the reverse wasn’t true.
NOW Toronto's Enzo Di Matteo and the National Post's Toronto panel go into more detail. The initial observation of Matt Gurney of the National Post deserves sharing.
You know, when Mike Del Grande first announced that he was stepping down, I was a bit taken aback by how ferocious his critique of the mayor was. You guys probably recall that I sent you an email that entirely consisted of exclamation marks after he commented that Ford “does not have the capacity” to grasp what it was he (Ford) was voting for. Wow! From a genuine fiscal conservative — no one out there is going to question Del Grande’s true-blue beliefs — that had to be a stinging rebuke for the Mayor. It was all the more remarkable because Del Grande wasn’t just attacking the mayor’s politics, but, frankly, his fitness for the job. If the mayor doesn’t understand what he’s doing (in Del Grande’s view), well, that’s saying something, isn’t it? Del Grande’s post-resignation antics got a little bit bizarre, especially with him saying how hurt his feelings were shortly before saying he’d take the job back, but only if he was asked by a unanimous council vote. That reminded me of a kid having a tantrum about not being invited to a birthday party. But setting aside his antics, how does the Ford administration deal with this?