Councillor Josh Matlow

CP24: Mayor’s allies expected to sack TTC chief

February 20, 2012


The TTC appears to be poised for a shakeup as the city’s transit chief is expected to get the axe Tuesday for defying the mayor’s transit vision.


One day before the meeting, there are suggestions TTC chief general manager Gary Webster may not be the only one to be fired following city council’s recent showdown over transit expansion.


In an interview with theToronto Star, city Coun. Frank Di Giorgio said as many as five senior TTC managers may be fired.


“We will discuss whether removing some managers – and it may in fact be three, four, five – we may discuss whether that’s the way to go,” Di Giorgio told the newspaper.


Di Giorgio is one of five TTC commissioners and Ford allies who called for Tuesday’s special meeting, where Webster is expected to receive his walking papers.


Di Giorgio suggested to the Star several managers may be sacked for failing to follow the will of the mayor and achieve the objectives set out by his mandate.


The special meeting is being held after city council voted 25-18 in favour of building above-ground light rail lines on Eglinton and Finch avenues, effectively shelving Ford’s plan, which called for more underground routes.


Webster is in the crosshairs because he supported new light rail lines.


‘Anti-democratic,” Matlow says

Coun. Josh Matlow told CP24 the push to get rid of Webster, and possibly others, is “utterly shameful, embarrassing for our city and anti-democratic.”


“We should all respect office of the mayor but that doesn’t mean we should capitulate to unreasonable demands,” Matlow told CP24’s Katie Simpson. “The mayor can disagree but you don’t just fire (someone) because you disagree.”


Matlow said the firing, if it happens, would set a dangerous precedent and likely cause TTC staff to agree with the city’s political leadership to keep their jobs.


In addition to Di Giorgio, councillors Vincent Crisanti, Norm Kelly, Denzil Minnan-Wong and Cesar Palacio signed a petition calling for the special meeting.


It appears Webster’s days are numbered because those councillors represent a majority on the nine-member TTC board.


In an email to CP24, TTC spokesman Brad Ross said Webster isn’t making any public comments in advance of the meeting.


“He remains committed to leading the TTC and acting in its best interest for the system’s 1.6 million daily customers and 12,000 employees,” Ross said.


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