Is Ford’s Office Falling Apart?

We’d be remiss if we went any further on into the month and did not mention the Rob Ford scandal that is shaking Toronto to its very core. And whether you’re one of Ford’s harshest critics or biggest supporters, the chances are good that you want answers just like anyone else. Now though, after two more people left Ford’s office yesterday, there are still simply more questions than answers.

Of course every Torontonian knows the story by now. The Gawker website was the first to come forward with the news that they had video of Rob Ford smoking crack, making disparaging remarks about the boys he coaches in football, and putting down Liberal leaders such as Justin Trudeau. The question remained whether or not such a video even existed, and Ford’s week-long silence only seemed to cement the fact that he was guilty. Even after a short press conference, and shrugging off any guilt on his weekly radio show, people still didn’t seem to be buying it.

Now, people are leaving Ford’s office faster than they can drive down the 401. And while that doesn’t indicate any kind of guilt, it does have people wondering just what exactly is happening at City Hall.

Mark Towhey, Ford’s former chief of staff, was the first to be let go last Thursday. Followed out to the parking lot by a team of security guards, Towhey made it very clear that he did not resign, but that he’d been fired by the mayor’s office. There were suspicions that he had been let go after urging the mayor to get help, but so far those suspicions have gone unfounded.

Now though, two more have left Ford’s office, and they in fact did resign. The real question is why, and does this mean that things at City Hall really are falling apart?

Former press secretary for Rob Ford, George Christopoulos and his deputy, Isaac Ransom, were the two latest staff members to leave Ford’s office. They packed up their office on the weekend, just after Towhey’s dismissal, and they stated that they were leaving “on principle.”

They had made a phone call to Ford telling them of their plans, and he had asked them to remain at the office until he got back. Two hours later, Ford returned, with security team and the city manager in tow. However, both men had already gone, with their resignation letters on Ford’s desk.

But their departure has only shone the spotlight even brighter on the mess that is City Hall right now. And even Rob Ford doesn’t seem to have a grip on things. In a press conference he told reporters that Sunny Petrujkic would be “the interim Press Secretary until further notice.” But then he changed his mind less than an hour later, not on who would step into the position, but on just what that position would be called, changing it to “communications director” through a tweet from his office.

City councillor Jaye Robinson expressed concern about the two men leaving, saying that “this is unprecedented,” but that she’s looked “deep into the bylaws” and that “the only person who can determine if the mayor continues is the mayor.” She did also mention that she’s concerned about the mayor’s office, which was already understaffed and that now has lost three staff members in just as many days.

But a known ally of the mayor, Councillor Frank Di Giorgio, brushes off these staff members, and indicates that their position wasn’t really all that important at all.

“We’re talking about communications staff,” he said. “There are other people who I’m sure can fill the void.”

What do you think about the current chaos in Toronto’s City Hall? Do you think city business really isn’t being affected? Do you think it may be now that three senior staff members have left the office in just as many days?