TORONTO – Rob Ford is pleading with the Toronto Community Housing board not to fire Gene Jones despite a new report that questioned some of his hiring and firing practices.
The board is meeting Friday to discuss the implications of the report. Ford says he’ll be there, if he’s allowed to take his seat.
The mayor held an afternoon press conference Thursday to publicly vouch for the embattled CEO of community housing, saying Jones had cleaned up the mess.
“Eugene Jones was brought to Toronto community housing to clean up a mess. It’s that simple, it was a disaster,” Ford said. “Eugene was told to clean up the mess; he did exactly what he was told to do.”
The report titled “Unrule(y) Behaviour” suggest senior management at TCHC repeatedly broke recruitment rules and some of the executives “did not know their obligations.”
“The pattern was set at the top by the CEO, who felt that TCH’s human resource policies did not apply to him. Others took their cue,” Crean said at a press conference Tuesday.
The Ombudsman’s report said witnesses described a “climate of fear that destabilized the workplace.”
“During the 18 months after the CEO’s arrival, 88 staff left TCH, most of them involuntarily, and 96 new staff were hired,” the report read.
“All these changes created chaos,” said Crean. “And left TCH without the necessary skills and adequate institutional memory.”
But to the mayor, Jones simply did what was needed.
“Of course I care about people breaking rules, but this is about cleaning up a mess that he was hired to do,” Ford said. “Are things perfect? No. are they a hell of a lot better than they were 14 years ago? Yes.”
Ford also suggested the report was politically motivated, asking “why is there no mention of the actions that Eugene Jones has taken since becoming CEO in 2012?”