Tag Archives: TCH

Case Ootes’ pay at TCH board

Former councillor getting 25k for 3-month gig
City appointed him interim man director at housing board
Kris Scheuer
(March 16 blog post)

Case Ootes former ward 29 rep is now the interim managing director of the city's housing board. Photo Francis Crescia/Town Crier file photo.

Former East York councillor and ex deputy mayor Case Ootes is the one man show on Toronto Community Housing’s board now. He’ll began his new role on Monday and will be in it until mid-June at the latest. He’ll make $25,000 in compensation as the interim managing director of the TCH board.
The city manager Joseph Pennachetti set the rate of pay for Ootes.
At the emergency council session March 9 that the Mayor Rob Ford called, the city voted 25-18 to sweep the remaining 4 members of the board. The other nine board members already resigned at the mayor’s request over a scandalous set of city audits that involved spending by TCH employees and sole-source contracts that if put out for competitive tender could have saved millions.
But not all city councillors wanted Ootes to get paid for his temporary role, but councillor motions to have him work for free were defeated. The main issue raised was that Ootes, who was a councillor from 1988 to 2010, was already receiving severance for his almost 22 years in public office. He’s receiving the max allowed which is 12 months pay equal to $99,619.52.
According to the city’s policy on severance, a councillor can receive 1 month’s pay for every consecutive year worked with the maximum allowed of 12 months. In Ootes case he was a councillor for over two decades, so is entitled to a year’s severance.
After the council vote, the mayor told the media everyone deserves to be paid so he was fine with Ootes being compensated in his new role despite the fact he’s currently collecting severance from the city/taxpayer.
According to the Globe and Mail, Ootes also earned $11,000 from his role heading up Mayor Ford’s transition team after the Oct. 25 election last year.
It will be interesting to see what Ootes suggests for city-owned housing corporation while he is in charge of the board. One thing he’s been quite vocal about in interviews I have had with him as a Town Crier reporter is that TCH should not house people in million dollar houses.
What’s your take on his pay and new appointed role?

Council debates removing housing board

Kris Scheuer
(For March 10 update click here.)

Mayor Ford shown on the big screen at city council tonight speaking about wanting the current TCH board removed. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

 

Council has been debating for three plus hours now on Mayor Rob Ford’s request that the last four board members of Toronto Community Housing be removed tonight. He wants them replaced tonight by an interim managing director – Case Ootes.
Read the mayor’s letter to council on what he is seeking.
While there are a number of motions be city councillor being debated now (9pm), the main issue comes down to this: the mayor’s request the last four board members councillors Maria Augimeri and Raymind Cho and the two tenant reps Catherine Wilkinson and Dan King be removed as they refuse to step down. Mayor Ford wants those four replaced by one person, former councillor Case Ootes, as the interim managing director.
And the main alternative being debated  tonight is Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s motion that the four current reps stay on the board and the interim managing director be added but that he not be paid because as an ex councillor Ootes is already getting severance.
See all the councillors’ motions here.
The debate and media scrum didn’t end until almost 12:30 am Thurs March 10. Here’s the update on the results.

Housing board could be replaced

Mayor Ford calls special Toronto City Council session
He wants remaining board members gone
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier March eighth, posted March 9)

Councillor Pam McConnell.

Mayor Rob Ford called a special city council session for this evening to discuss removing the remaining four Toronto Community Housing Corporation board members.
Councillor Pam McConnell is livid and said she thinks it is illegal to meet on this issue with such short notice.
Referring to the city’s shareholders agreement with the city-owned corporation that states on page 15 that “the shareholder (city) will provide prior written notice to the board no less than six weeks prior to any proposed amendments to this direction.”
McConnell, a veteran on council, told the media Tuesday evening that lawyers were looking into the matter and that she was looking at the possibility of seeking an injunction to stop the meeting.
“It is not right to just think you can close your eyes to the law and bylaws and the covenant with your tenants and to say we will forget all of that,” she said.
City legal staff have so far disagreed with her interpretation, McConnell said.
The removal of the board members became an issue after city Auditor General Jeffrey Griffiths two scathing Feb. 25 reports found millions could be saved if contracts were more competitive and uncovered inappropriate employee expenses although he found no fault by board members.
While the reports haven’t gone to the city’s audit committee yet, Mayor Ford asked all 13 board members to resign and last week nine board members including chair David Mitchell did.

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Toronto housing board still in charge

Toronto Community Housing board still in place, for now
City Council to discuss TCH board at special meeting Wed
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier March eighth. Update here.)

Councillor Doug Ford wants remaining board members to step down. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

The remaining members of Toronto Community Housing’s embattled board are staying put despite Mayor Rob Ford’s calls for their resignations.
The issue was expected to be the heated topic today at city hall, but  while politicians voted unanimously to move the issue to the top of the agenda, the mayor failed to get the votes needed to debate it without having the issue sent to Executive Committee first.
The controversy stems from scathing reports from the city’s auditor general which said the housing corp. could have saved between $4-10 million if there was increased competition for contracts and shone the spotlight on inappropriate staff expenses ranging from planning meetings at spas to lavish Christmas parties. Meanwhile the city-owned housing corp. has a state of good repair backlog of over $300 million.
While the auditor didn’t call for a clean house of the current board the mayor has. The board chair David Mitchell plus eight other members resigned at the mayor’s request but councillors Maria Augimeri and Raymond Cho and tenant reps Catherine Wilkinson and Dan King remain.
“Has (council) malfeasance on our part?” King asked. “Has the auditor general mentioned cause for our removal? If not, then we have a legitimate right to be here. Calling for our removal because they don’t like certain people is not what I call democratic.”

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Surplus social housing sell off

Toronto social housing sold to Wigwamen
City sells 20 properties to affordable housing provider
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier May 14.)

Toronto Community Housing is giving affordable housing agencies first dibs on properties for sale, including 5 Hubbard Blvd. across from Kew Beach. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

The city’s largest social housing landlord has begun the process of selling surplus Beach homes worth millions for a fraction of their market value.
On May 12, city council voted to sell 20 properties across the city with a combined market value of $8.6 million for $395,156 to the non-profit Aboriginal housing provider Wigwamen.
The Toronto Community Housing properties include single-family homes on Pape, Malvern and Golfview avenues, and Milverton Boulevard.
That selling price is the remaining mortgages on the homes.
The process is actually cost-effective, says a city councillor.
Normally, if the city sells or demolishes any social housing units in its stock, it is mandated to replace them within the same community. In this case, the units were sold to an agency that will maintain the properties as social housing, so the city’s not required to replace the housing.
“This is cost neutral,” explained Councillor Paula Fletcher, who sits on the TCH board.
If the city had sold the properties for $8.6 million to a developer, for instance, the city would have spent about the same to build 20 replacement units. According to a city staff report, it would have cost $6.1 million, plus the cost of land for replacement units.
It’s a good deal, said Jeffery Ferrier, spokesperson for the city’s housing agency, because a sale and replacement scenario would have been a money-losing proposition for Toronto Community Housing.  “You can’t just look at the market value. You have to consider costs to replace the units with better housing. The costs of (real estate) commissions, construction, demolition and land would cost more.”

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Social housing Toronto beach property fix up

Interior at 42 Hubbard will be gutted, mould removed
Tenants can move back in summer 2011 to renovated apartments
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Jan. 14 for Town Crier.)

The city is fixing up this Beach-front social housing complex. Photo Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Deborah Beaven can’t wait to move back to her beachfront Toronto Community Housing residence.
Beaven lived at 42 Hubbard Boulevard for 20 years before she and all the tenants were relocated so TCH could fix the mouldy low-rise complex
The city-owned social housing provider recently held a meeting to update tenants on when they can return and how the building will be renovated.
“I was happy to know they are going forward and will rebuild,” she said. Continue reading

Toronto social housing in disrepair