by Jonathan Jenkins
Mayor Rob Ford has set aside $3 million to pay consultants for a review of all city spending.
Chief Financial Officer Cam Weldon said the money has been set aside in the non-program account, a pool of money that also includes an undisclosed amount for settling contract negotiations.
“It’s around $3 million,” Weldon said to Coun. Gord Perks, during debate on the 2011 operating budget.
How many contracts and how many consultants the review involves is still being worked out.
“We won’t know that until we’ve done some more work,” Weldon said. “We’re fleshing out what the terms of reference will be,” Perks said.
Ford promised the external review of spending and will be using the results to help deal with a $774-million shortfall in the city’s budget next year.
“City manager says $3 million hidden in city budget to pay for Ford’s ‘Gravy’ Train” consultants,” Coun. Michael Layton posted to Twitter. “Cash would save libraries and tenants cuts.”
Two other councillors quickly jumped on the revelation, proposing to spend additional money from the non-program account to restore cuts to departments.
Coun. Sarah Doucette moved to take $100,000 from non-program to keep the Urban Affairs library at Metro Hall, while Coun. Josh Matlow suggested granting Ombudsman Fiona Crean a so-far denied $102,000 increase to add extra staff.
But Coun. Doug Ford questioned the need for Crean’s office to get more money, saying she only received on average six calls a day.
“I get 100 calls a day,” Ford said.
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