Toronto Budget Chief Mike Del Grande, according to a story in today’s online Toronto Sun, Is defending Rob Ford’s use of “taxpayer funded resources”, to quote the article, for his high school football team. In the article, Del Grande is quoted as saying “I wish you would have learned that the mayor pays for some of these kids where they live, buys them groceries …”.
Well, that’s good for Rob Ford. But he wasn’t elected by the citizens of Toronto to coach the Don Bosco football team. He was elected to be chief magistrate of the city of Toronto. That means you don’t leave a meeting of the executive committee, which you chair, five-and-a-half hours early to coach football. That doesn’t mean you can use your office staff as assistant coaches and let them drive city-owned vehicles to practices, or use city cell phones as contact numbers on football team websites. Robbie also started another football team and yes, the names of two of his staffers and their city-assigned cell phones are listed as contacts.
Rob Ford was elected on a campaign to “stop the gravy train”, by which he meant cut out the waste at city hall. By his use of his staff, city vehicles and cell phones for his football coaching, it seems that “stop the gravy train” slogan has been changed to “pass the gravy”.
As I said, Robbie may indeed do all these things Mike Del Grande mentions, but that isn’t the point. The press is all over Robbie because he’s either doing the coaching when he should be on city business, or using his staff and city equipment for the coaching, or both. That’s the point – that he is just as guilty of riding the “gravy train” as those he railed against during the election campaign.