TORONTO – While council cannot impeach Mayor Rob Ford, some councillors are attempting to limit his ability to work by restricting his budget.
Councillor Gord Perks told reporters at city hall Thursday evening that a group of councillors has called for a special meeting on Monday to debate moving the mayor’s budget to deputy mayor Norm Kelly – allowing him to effectively become mayor.
“What you do is you shrink the line item that is the mayor’s office budget in the city of Toronto budget right now, down to the same size as a city councillor gets, you create a new line item called the deputy mayor’s budget and you transfer the balance of the money over there.”
Rob Ford would remain as mayor in title only, Perks said, and would have his budget and staff limited to that of a councillor. The mayor’s current employees would be transferred to the deputy mayor.
“What this will achieve is give the deputy mayor the resources necessary to work with city staff, to manage agendas, to coordinate the activities of council, to represent the city at functions and all the things that he’s going to have to do as he takes on more and more of the responsibilities that are currently in the hands of someone who’s clearly not able,” Perks said.
The motion would be in addition to one being debated Friday that attempts to strip the mayor of special powers to appoint and remove heads of committees.
The rebellion comes after a series of admissions and controversial statements made by the mayor in the last two weeks beginning with his admission he smoked crack cocaine.
On Thursday, Ford admitted to buying illegal drugs while mayor. And police documents released by an Ontario court justice revealed previously redacted interviews with his former staffers that offer a range of allegations from cavorting with sex workers, having staff buy him alcohol, being inebriated while at city hall and assaulting staff members.
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None of those statements have been proven in court and the mayor denied many of them Thursday while threatening legal action against his former employees.