After a marathon council session, stretching from 5:30 p.m. until midnight, council finally voted 25-18 to dissolve the board of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
Early on, speaker Frances Nunziata ruled that any discussion of the auditor general’s report on the TCHC was out of order, a completely bizarre move that left councillors reaching to make their arguments without directly referencing the content of the report.
The arguments heard boiled down like this:
From the Right:
- We need a ‘clean slate’ so a whole new board can be appointed.
- The auditor general did a great job! We should commend him for that.
- Even though Tenant representatives on the board and the remaining council representatives can’t be held responsible for anything in the auditor’s report, we still want to hold them accountable.
- If the remaining board members don’t resign, it will make the nine members that have already resigned look bad.
- The mayor wants it this way.
From the Left:
- The tenant reps were democratically elected which removing them kind of, you know, contrary to democracy.
- The council reps are new so why not keep them around?
- Instituting a one-man board, even on an interim basis, isn’t ideal.
- Had this not been rushed to council, it would have gone to the audit committee and/or executive committee where councillors could talk about the auditor general’s report in depth and ask staff and the board questions. This might have been a good thing to do.
- Isn’t this just a sneaky scheme to privatize everything?
It was never really in doubt that this motion would pass. Ford simply has the votes he needs locked up to do anything he wants at the moment.
Two bits of procedural interest:
Shelley Carroll, through a mixture of wizardry and cunning, got Rob Ford, Doug Ford and most of council’s right-wing to vote against her amendment that would see an extra layer of oversight and accountability added to the TCHC. The motion passed 22-21 thanks to defections from Ford loyalists Michelle Beradinetti and Gloria Lindsay Luby.
Second, council actually voted down a motion from Kristyn Wong-Tam that would have prevented Case Ootes from drawing a salary as TCHC Managing Director on top of the severance he is already getting as a former city councillor.