When newly elected city councillor Jon Burnside went to check out his new office at City Hall on Monday, he discovered that John Parker, the councillor he is replacing in Ward 26, had destroyed all of his files.
"It was clearly a fresh start," Burnside laughingly told CBC's Metro Morning Tuesday.
Monday was officially the first day incoming council members were given access to their offices. It is city policy that outgoing councillors leave a clean office for their successors, and sitting councillors cannot share residents' information with incoming councillors without explicit permission from the resident in question.
But, Burnside said, the lack of active files could hamper his ability to get off to a quick start as councillor for Don Valley West, the only riding to see a new candidate defeat an incumbent councillor in October's election.
"First of all, there is the letter of the rules and there is a way to help the process ... My concern is that there will presumably be a number of files that there will be no action on, I won't know anything about it and the constituents meanwhile think that something is happening, " Burnside said.
Parker told The Toronto Sun Tuesday that he got rid of the files because he was required to do so, and that city staff and constituents working on any particular file would still have their own files readily available.
"My files have been destroyed," he told the Sun. "Any information that was shared with me was personal to me and to the person who shared it with me ... It is not my information to share with others."
Burnside said he understands that constituents' personal information cannot be shared, there was more Parker could have done to help him be prepared for his term.
"I wasn't asking Mr. Parker to do anything against the rules, but certainly either his office reaching out to the people to let them know that they would have to get in touch with me or giving me a list whereby I could call the people myself would have been really helpful."