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Mayor John Tory vows Toronto city staff shakeup
Mayor John Tory is talking tough on the need to make the city more efficient, but his predecessor Rob Ford had little success finding "gravy."
March 12, 2015
By David Rider

Hours after putting Toronto’s 2015 budget to bed, Mayor John Tory (open John Tory's policard) said work has started on the 2016 spending blueprint that will include a shakeup at the city and “may require new people.”

Speaking to reporters at a Scarborough TTC depot, Tory praised the budget council passed 42-2 Wednesday night but added: “I am not even close to being satisfied with the status quo.”

The former Rogers chief executive said that, while this year’s budget was largely crafted by staff because politicians were busy with last fall’s election, it’s “time to dive deeply into the management of the city.”

“I certainly think that a lot of the routines that I’ve found in the short time that I’ve been mayor, that require 19 people to initial things, and 26 people to be involved in meetings to sort of review things that have already been decided upon, are part of our problem,” Tory said.

The mayor said he wants to look “thoughtfully” at reducing management layers and to halt dramatic cost overruns on city capital projects, saying that will take discipline, determination, new ideas “and it may require new people.”

Tory and TTC chair Councillor Josh Colle (open Josh Colle's policard) have been broadly hinting since last week, when the Star revealed that the Spadina subway extension is hundreds of millions of dollars over budget, that one or more senior city managers in charge of building projects will soon be fired.

The mayor acknowledged politicians are part of the problem, saying they must resist the urge to “get our hands all over a project and make changes in it.”

Facing a daunting 2016 budget, Tory repeated that he is going to ask all departments to cut 2 per cent of spending, which he said will save $80 million.

The call echoes a bid by Tory’s predecessor, Rob Ford (open Rob Ford's policard), to use management consultant KPMG to find “gravy” waste spending at city hall.

KPMG, however, determined that 90 per cent of city services were “core” functions and, according to the city auditor general, saved Toronto about $10.5 million, not the $110.5 million claimed by city manager Joe Pennachetti.