Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he would consider privatizing the Toronto Community Housing Corporation in the wake of revelations of wasteful spending and untendered contracts at the agency.
Ford made the comment in a Wednesday morning interview with Toronto radio station Newstalk 1010.
"I have no problem looking at TCHC and how we're delivering these services, and if contracting it out is the way to go, that's the way we're going to go," he said.
Ford confirmed that he asked for the resignation of TCHC CEO Keiko Nakamura during a short meeting with her Monday.
"And she said no," Ford said.
He has also asked the seven civilian members of the TCHC board to resign after the city auditor general released a report on Monday that revealed the agency awarded a three-year $25-million refurbishment contract after receiving an unsolicited proposal and another $5-million contract that did not have appropriate documentation and appeared to be sole-sourced.
The report also detailed staff expenditures on cruises, massages and Christmas parties exceeding $40,000.
A statement issued by TCHC's citizen board members Tuesday afternoon said the auditor's report did not outline specific problems with the organization's policies, for which the board is responsible.
If the board members refuse Ford's request to resign, the mayor said he would seek an order-in-council compelling them to do so.
McGuinty may have to face 'Ford nation'
Ford also said in the interview he would play hardball with Premier Dalton McGuinty over a request for hundreds of millions in new provincial funding.
McGuinty said Monday the province will not be providing additional funding to Toronto as it is still trying to cut down its own $18.7 billion deficit. Ford suggested Wednesday that McGuinty's refusal to help Toronto could cost the Liberal government votes in the Oct. 6 provincial election.
"If they choose not to help us, I have no other choice but to get out, as I call [it], Ford nation and make sure they are not re-elected in the next election. But I do not want to do that," Ford said.
A Jan. 25 letter to the Ontario Ministry of Finance signed by Ford requests $153 million in funding for road maintenance, transit and other expenses. The letter also asks the province for sustained funding for the TTC, pegged at 50 per cent of the city's contribution to the transit agency.
Based on the city's 2011 contribution to the TTC, that amounts to an extra $215 million in sustained provincial funding.