Ford calls watchdog offices 'politically motivated'
Chris Fox, cp24.com
Published Friday, October 26, 2012 1:54PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 26, 2012 2:39PM EDT
Mayor Rob Ford is continuing an all-out assault on the offices of several city watchdogs that have been critical of his administration in the past.
One day after telling reporters that he would like to replace the city’s ombudsman, integrity commissioner and lobbyist register with a single lawyer that would be kept on retainer, Ford reiterated his remarks to CP24 calling the positions “politically motivated.”
“It’s getting ridiculous, it's over the top,” Ford told CP24s Stephen LeDrew. “For this, that and the next thing they are coming to me and I say ‘Where did it come from?’ and it is always from a so-called left-wing opponent or something.”
On Thursday Ford and his councillor brother Doug were both formally reprimanded by Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper for insulting comments they made about the city’s chief medical officer while hosting a radio show in April.
Also on Thursday, Ombudsman Fiona Crean released a follow-up report that suggested Ford’s office did interfere with the civic appointments process by distributing a list of preferred candidates to some committee members.
“We would save a lot of money if we had one person on retainer compared to these three bodies,” Ford said on Friday.“I think they must have 20 staff in total if not more.”
A 2006 provincial law requires that the city appoint both an integrity commissioner and an ombudsman.
That law would have to be amended to allow the city to eliminate the positions, a fact Ford seemed at least partially resigned to Friday.
“They are going to keep writing reports and I am going to keep doing what the taxpayers want me to do,” he told CP24.
Ford hopes to eliminate deficit by 2015
Ford, who assumed office two years ago Thursday, was in a reflective mood as he spoke with Stephen LeDrew Friday, saying he was elected to “bring financial stability back to city hall” and has largely done so.
“We found $360 million in savings and we are doing exactly what I was elected to do,” he said.
Going forward, Ford said eliminating the city’s year-over-year deficit will be his number one task, something he hopes to accomplish by 2015.
He added that it’s imperative the deficit is eliminated without rising taxes more than the rate of inflation.
“We are about $300 million out and in the next two years I am pretty sure we can wipe it out,” he said. “That’ll mean a truly balanced budget with zero deficit.”
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