Toronto mayor-elect John Tory has tapped longtime councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong to be deputy mayor and filled out his executive committee with primarily senior councillors.
Tory, elected in Toronto’s closely-watched October campaign, officially takes office Monday. He will be formally sworn-in and preside over his first council meeting Tuesday.
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Minnan-Wong, considered a fiscally conservative councillor and early ally of Rob Ford, has served on council in the amalgamated Toronto since 1997. Speculation swirled last year that Minnan-Wong may consider a run at the mayoralty himself, but ultimately chose to endorse Tory for the mayor’s chair.
On CBC's Metro Morning, Minnan-Wong said that Tory reached out to him on Sunday.
"We have a lot of things to do at the city. There are some files that have been put off for a year or longer and we need to make decisions on those issues," he said.
"I thought I could assist the mayor and council in shepherding those issues through council."
Minnan-Wong will succeed Norm Kelly, who was thrust into the spotlight after council stripped former mayor Ford of much of his powers in November 2013 after he admitted to buying and smoking crack cocaine, among other allegations of substance abuse.
Excited to serve as Deputy Mayor for incoming Mayor John Tory. #TOpoli— Denzil Minnan-Wong (@DenzilMW) December 1, 2014
"The bad aspects of the Rob Ford administration will quickly fade into the rear-view mirror," said Minnan-Wong.
Neither Kelly nor Ford, who will now serve as a councillor in Etobicoke Ward 2, will be part of Tory's executive committee.
In an interesting move, Tory also plans to name three other deputy mayors in addition to Minnan-Wong in an apparent a bid to ensure geographical representation and prevent the kind of fractiousness that has plagued Toronto’s city council in recent years. Those appointments are subject to a council vote.
Vince Crisanti (West), Glenn De Baeremaeker (East) and Pam McConnell (South) are Tory's choices, although the roles are largely symbolic.
The move is not without precedent, however. In his first term, former mayor David Miller appointed three deputy mayors.
Meanwhile, Coun. Frances Nunziata will continue in her role as speaker, with Coun. Shelley Carroll serving as the deputy speaker.
Carroll will also be joining the Police Services Board, along with Tory and Coun. Chin lee. Media reports surfaced last week suggesting that Tory would indeed sit on the board himself after he was deeply critical of the relationship between police, the board and the public in his “state of the city” speech.
Tory has previously cited transit and housing as areas of critical concern for the city. He selected returning councillors Josh Colle as Toronto Transit Commission chair and Ana Bailao as chair of the affordable housing committee, according to a source in the mayor's office. Colle's position will be subject to a council vote.
Gary Crawford will be chosen as budget chief, according to the source.
Tory's executive committee will be comprised of eight men and four women. In addition to at-large members Bailao, Crawford, Frank DiGiorgio and Mary-Margaret McMahaon, the following are committee chairs:
- Paul Ainslie, Government Management.
- Michelle Berardinetti, Parks and Environment.
- Cesar Palacio, Licensing and Standards.
- James Pasternak, Community Development and Recreation.
- Jaye Robinson, Public Works and Infrastructure.
- David Shiner, Planning and Growth.
- Michael Thompson, Economic Development Committee.
Tory has said the city needs more funding from senior levels of government for housing and transit, and according to the Ontario Premier's agenda, he'll have his first meeting with Kathleen Wynne on Monday at 9:20 a.m.