Mar 11

Unspecified lessons to be learned

The Executive Committee today voted (of course) in favour of various reforms to the city’s boards, agencies and committees. I wrote a bit about this last week. This isn’t surprising, nor is it necessarily a good or bad thing. The real impacts of this move won’t be felt for a while.

My favourite part was the justifications members of the executive committee used when endorsing this move. The Toronto Star’s Paul Moloney had this great bit:

The reforms were endorsed Monday by the powerful executive committee, chaired by Ford, and go to the full city council next month for final approval.

The public supports a clampdown amid revelations about thousands of dollars being spent by the housing company on gifts, spas, manicures, Muskoka planning trips and Christmas parties for staff, said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong.

“There’s a lesson to be learned and applied through recent events such as the TCHC,” Minnan-Wong, a member of the executive committee, said in an interview.

via Ford moves to rein in agencies – thestar.com.

So these reforms are necessary because of the TCHC scandal. Except that council still hasn’t received the auditor general’s report on mismanagement at the TCHC, nor have they had an opportunity to question TCHC staff about the allegations. And in the case of the former board and CEO, there’s no longer any opportunity to ask questions, because they’ve all been fired.

There are probably literally hundreds of important lessons to be learned from the TCHC scandal. But thus far the mayor and his allies have seemed indifferent to actually figuring out what those lessons are. (John Lorinc has actually done a good job digging into the TCHC thing beyond the surface “my tax dollars” sheen.)

Fire everyone and hope things get better is a pretty lousy management strategy. Also lousy? Using the spectre of an unrelated spending scandal to justify reforms like these.