Mike Del Grande says there’s absolutely no way he’ll resume his role as Toronto’s budget chief.
“I’m not coming back,” said the Scarborough-Agincourt councillor, who resigned the post Wednesday, Jan. 16, hours after the city’s 2013 budget passed with some eleventh-hour additions that left Del Grande disappointed.
On Thursday night, he appeared to agree with a television interviewer who suggested he would accept being budget committee chairperson again if his council colleagues offered the job to Del Grande in a unanimous vote.
But that evening Del Grande said this was a “hyperbole question” to which he gave a “hyperbole answer.”
His mind’s made up, he said.
“I can’t have 44 masters,” said Del Grande, referring to councillors making motions to change the budget he had worked on 75 hours a week. The “icing on the cake” prompting his resignation, he added, was St. Paul’s Councillor Joe Mihevc’s successful motion for more transparency in the budget process.
Mihevc, on Thursday, said this was meant “at face value” and not at all as personal criticism of Del Grande. The process has for many years been hard to follow, he said, because it’s complicated and involves so much paper.
Though he’s had disagreements with Del Grande, Mihevc said Del Grande never asked him about his motion before the vote.
Del Grande, however, said he spoke against the motion and told fellow councillors he took it to be personal.
Several colleagues later praised Del Grande’s work in what they said is a difficult role.
“I think he feels the changes council made to his budget undermined what he was trying to do,” Norm Kelly, who represents the other Agincourt ward, said before news of the resignation came out.
Kelly added he hoped Del Grande was home with his feet up, reflecting on a job well done.
Del Grande said he’s heard from some his own residents who, he said, understand why he quit the post and don’t blame him for the decision.
“I told my constituents (while I was budget chief) that I was on loan to the city, and that I had a bigger goal,” he said, adding he leaves the city’s finances in a better state than he found them in two years ago, when he took on the post.
“I had to do what I had to do to turn the ship around.”
Now, serving on the Police Services Board looks like a new task in which he can accomplish something, Del Grande said. “I’m a journeyman. I do one job and go on to the next one.”