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Council endorses TCH report, Mayor Ford absent at city council session

Ombudsman Fiona Crean defended her report into Toronto Community Housing (TCH) as city council began its monthly May meeting without Mayor Rob Ford on Tuesday.

Ford is in rehab, according to his brother Coun. Doug Ford. However, the councillor did not say where the facility is located.

Doug Ford was seen sitting in the mayor’s seat in council chamber, but later moved.

The first order of business was to extend the powers of the Toronto ombudsman to city corporations.

Under the City of Toronto Act, the ombudsman cannot investigate the Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Public Library Board.

“Let’s keep our ombudsman looking after our residents and our Toronto organizations,” Coun. Sarah Doucette, who introduced the motion, told city council.

The motion was approved by a vote of 34-3.

Click here to read the motion.

Council then moved on to another matter concerning the ombudsman: public housing.

Council voted to endorse Crean’s report into TCH. “We have to do better than this and we will do better than this,” said Coun. Ana Bailao, a TCH board member.

The controversial HR practices at TCH ultimately led to the departure of its CEO Eugene Jones.

The 111-page report followed Crean’s investigation into TCH’s hiring, firing and promotion practices over the last two years under the watch of Jones.

The ombudsman said it was “an alarming tale” of some senior executives ignoring policies and running the agency “as if it was their own personal fiefdom.”
Jones had been hand-picked by Ford to run the TCH.

TCH board chair Bud Purves said Tuesday he was taking Crean’s report seriously.

“The board does not take this recommendations lightly … we have to treat our own people well to treat our tenants well,” Purves told council.

Crean reiterated that the TCH had “first-rate” policy framework but “the issue is adhering to it.”

Other items

Kindness Week
Coun. Joe Mihevc introduced a motion to declare this week “Kindness Week.”

As part of the Human Kindness Project, it will focus on deliberate acts of kindness.

The city will officially celebrate kindness week from May 5-9.

Homelessness task force

Coun. Paul Ainslie wants to know more about the mayor’s task force on homelessness. Ford announced in 2011 that the task force would be run by Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti.

“To date nothing has taken place with regards to a task force on homelessness,” Ainslie’s motion reads, and he wants to know why nothing has been done.
Speaker Frances Nunziata moved to have the motion referred to executive committee. It passed, with 36 votes in favour.

The next executive committee meeting is May 27.

Click here to read the motion.

Violation of code of conduct: Rob Ford
Council was set to discuss a robocall from Mayor Ford to residents of Ward 43, Coun. Paul Ainslie’s ward.

The integrity commissioner had recommended that council find that Ford did violate the city’s code of conduct, and that Ford should apologize to Ainslie.

Councillors voted 38-2 to deal with this matter when Ford returns.

Click here to read the motion.