Ford announces key roles for councillors
(Written for Town Crier Nov. 29)
Mayor elect Rob Ford announced this afternoon the team that will help guide Toronto for the next few years.
The were no surprises in the appointments to head the seven council standing committees nor the spate of other plum posts as Ford’s choices had already been widely reported in the media.
The geographic and ideological composition of the group also offered no surprise. There are reps from the suburbs and midtown, but no one from downtown. Leftie councillors were shut out but two newbie female politicians are on Ford’s team.
“This is the team that’s ready to get down to the hard work of bringing accountability and respect for taxpayers back to city hall,” Ford said.
Chairs of the seven standing committees with positions on the Executive:
Public Works and Infrastructure — Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East)
Licensing and Standards — Cesar Palacio (Ward 17, Davenport)
Planning and Growth Management — Peter Milczyn (Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore)
Government Management —Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East)
Parks and Environment — Norm Kelly (Ward 40, Scarborough-Agincourt)
Economic Development — Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre)
Community Development and Recreation — Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West)
At-large members of the Executive Committee: Jaye Robinson (Ward 25, Don Valley West), Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest), David Shiner (Ward 23, Willowdale) and Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt).
Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre), as Deputy Mayor and chair of the Striking Committee and an Executive member.
Ford will act as the Executive’s chair.
Other Key Roles
City Council Speaker — Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston)
Deputy City Council Speaker — John Parker (Ward 26, Don Valley West)
Budget Chief — Councillor Mike Del Grande
TTC Chair — Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence)
The new mayor and council will be sworn in Dec. 1 and Ford said they will work as quickly as possible to get to work.
“As you know, I have a very strong, experienced team here and I look forward to leading the city with them,” he said.
He said choosing councillors was not about ideology.
“This is not about left or right. This is about bringing respect for taxpayers,” he said.
“Councillor Karen Stintz has my key support as chair of TTC. This is a large portfolio with many moving parts. My conversations with Councillor Stintz over the past few weeks indicate she has a good understanding of what it will take to move the city ahead on the necessary changes to the transit system,” said Ford.
After the announcement several of the newly minted committee chairs spoke to reporters about the task ahead.
Minnan-Wong knows he has a big job heading up the committee that looks after garbage, water, sewage, recycling and roads.
He said he’s in favour of contracting out the city’s garbage collection when public contracts come up for renewal. However, it’s way too early to say if that will happen, he stressed.
“We are going to have to wait and see,” said Minnan-Wong. “But it’s an issue the public wants to have a debate about.”
He said the public doesn’t want to see another garbage strike like summer 2009 and “one of the solutions the public is looking at is ways we can make sure garbage collection is improved and reliable and dependable.”
He also plans to tackle the problem of basement flooding in North York.
“We are going to try and improve service in that (water) area and in the coming days we will have to look at the budget and the types of services we can deliver on,” said Minnan-Wong.
Robinson said that her appointment to the executive will help her address big issues that have an impact in her ward.
“What’s happening locally and city-wide are so connected,” said Robinson, who worked in a management role for economic development and tourism for 20 years. “If we drill down to an issue like traffic, transit … our arterials are so congested and we experience so much gridlock so people are re-routing through our neighbourhoods.
“So this is an incredible opportunity because I can influence what is happening on the city wide agenda, so it will actually have a positive impact on our neighbourhoods.”
Ford’s recommendations will go to the Striking committee Dec. 7 and then to city council for approval.