City Centre Mirror
Scarborough-Agincourt Councillor Mike Del Grande resigned from the position of budget chief Wednesday, Jan. 16, evening, hours after Toronto Council passed an amended $9.4 billion operating budget.
His resignation came as little surprise to council-watchers.
As his committee finished off the recommended budget, he warned councillors if the budget were heavily amended, he would not stay on in the post he has held for the past two years under Mayor Rob Ford.
Council did amend that budget — adding $12 million in new spending, including funding to retain fire stations and fire trucks, money for student nutrition programs and funding for additional daycare spaces. Mayor Rob Ford supported the amendments to Toronto Fire’s budget.
But in an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning, Del Grande said the tipping point was a motion by St. Paul Councillor Joe Mihevc, asking for more transparency in the budget process.
“I’m absolutely baffled,” he said. “I did all kinds of things with respect to transparency.”
In his speech at council, Del Grande said he felt as though the motion was a vote of non-confidence in his leadership, and complained he had been “vilified” for running a frugal and “evidence-based” budget process the past two years.
When the votes were finished, Del Grande was notably absent from a news conference where other allies of the mayor stood with Rob Ford to talk about the 2013 budget accomplishments.
In a statement, Mayor Rob Ford thanked Del Grande on behalf of Toronto taxpayers.
“He has been a key leader on my team, helping Toronto turn the corner and achieve the sustainable budget that we passed Wednesday. I look forward to the contribution he will make as a member of the Toronto Police Services Board.”