editorial: How adept is Rob Ford as a mayor?
Mayor Rob Ford has been front and center since he took office but not so much for changing the city. Reporters don’t have to look or dig deep to find a negative angle when it comes to articles about Ford, he is very adept at screwing up for all to see. We’ve had him talking on the phone while driving and allegedly giving a lady and her young daughter the finger, he’s been seen reading while driving (and no the material was not traffic signs) and don’t forget when he and reporter Daniel Dale got into it on public land.
Is he as adept at doing his actual job? The question may be two sided. We went from having Mayor David Miller who routinely put in 16 hour days including weekends to Mayor Rob “Where Are You At?” Ford who treats the job as one with bankers hours. Perhaps Ford didn’t read the Mayor for Dummies handbook (it wouldn’t be the first time he failed to scan a handbook).
225. It is the role of the head of council,
to act as the municipality’s chief executive officer
to preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively
to provide the council with leadership
(c.1) without limiting clause (c), to provide information and recommendations to the council with respect to the role of council described in clauses 224 (d) and (d.1)
to represent the municipality at official functions and
carry out the duties of a head of council under this or any other act.
As chief executive officer of the municipality, the head of council has special responsibilities, which are set out in section 226.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001: “226.1 As chief executive officer of a municipality, the head of council shall,
uphold and promote the purposes of the municipality
promote public involvement in the municipality’s activities
act as the representative of the municipality both within and outside the municipality, and promote the municipality locally, nationally and internationally and
participate in and foster activities that enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality and its residents.”
Mayors in Toronto have one thing going for them. If they are elected it’s almost impossible for them to lose their job. There are no back-up plans for ridding the city of a bad mayor short of a mayor dying or being found guilty for something like conflict of interest (Yes, that option may come into play in the next few weeks). If a mayor wants to hang out at his cottage on say a Pride Parade, then it’s allowed. If he wants to toss a football with local youth instead of heading an executive meeting, then who’s going to stop him or her. Going to official events and meetings may be part of the job but only if one knows what that job is.
Ford got elected on a Gravy Train campaign. He promised to cut over-spending and end the war on the car. (He may have left out that the war on the car would become the war on the pinko bikers) He promised to make it easy to contact the city and get results. He promised to get Toronto 100 more police officers. He promised to get road repairs. He promised to reduce the city’s operating budget. He promised a lot. He has delivered very little.
He has lowered councilors expense accounts and reduced his own office’s budget. He has made true to publish all of the city’s spending online, record all votes of the city council and create whistle blower protection for city employees. He did stop the vehicle registration tax.
He made 26 promises and so far has kept his word for six of them. If he were in school that would be a grade of 19 percent. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that’s a failing grade.
Granted, Ford is only one vote when it comes to getting things done. One vote that has been shuffled to the bottom of the deck as of late. His council for the most part has voted against him this year. He does have his good buddies that will back him up come hell or high water but their numbers have been sinking with each of his little viral media flare ups.
Ford may be a hero on the football sidelines but he’s a total fumble at City Hall. He’s showing us in Toronto how to not run a city while attempting to run the nation’s largest one. On the football field the ref will throw a flag when someone breaks the rules but when it comes to city government there’s no towel to throw on the floor. If you screw up in chambers real people pay the price. When the mayor is a laughing stock the city is a laughing stock.