Bloor West Villager
Mayor Rob Ford has put his foot down once and for all, and refused pleas from police, the public and his own brother to hire a driver rather than drive to appointments himself.
“As you know I have many events to go to and some of those my staff have driven, but I don’t believe in wasting taxpayers’ money,” said Ford at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
Ford made the statement a week after a picture surfaced on Twitter of the mayor reading a speech while driving his new Escalade along the Gardiner Expressway.
Ford at the time admitted to reading while he was driving, and explained that he was “a busy guy.”
The admission led to widespread calls for Ford to buck up and hire a driver, as both former Mayors Mel Lastman and David Miller did during their tenure.
Even Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother and city councillor for Ward 2, said the mayor needed a driver and if he didn’t want one then council should simply impose one on him.
But in his first public appearance since returning from a “working vacation” in Alberta, Ford poured water on the idea.
“I don’t believe in hiring someone,” he said. “I believe the average cost is $50,000, $60,000. A million people go to work in this city and they drive themselves – I don’t see how I’m any different.”
Ford said he was offered a driver when he was elected, and estimated that with the driver and the car the cost would be in the range of $100,000.
For Ford’s brother Doug, that is the final word on the matter.
“I give up, honest,” he said. “I just can’t win. I tried my hardest. Now that’s proof in the pudding who really makes decisions – it’s Rob.”