Rob Ford put city hall 'at risk' when he announced bomb threat in media
The mayor's action 'crosses the line,' says union president
Rob Ford put city workers, politicians, reporters and visitors to city hall at risk this week when he announced a bomb threat in the media, according to CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire.
Maguire is filing a policy grievance and asking the province's labour ministry to investigate the mayor's decision to discuss a bomb threat to city hall on live television. Maguire said by announcing the threat to the media first, the mayor did not follow city protocol. He said the mayor acted irresponsibly, irrationally and inappropriately.
"If the protocol isn't followed, then there could be pandemonium," said Maguire in a press conference at city hall on Friday. CUPE Local 79 represents approximately 20,000 workers in Toronto, and all workers at City Hall and the adjoining Nathan Philips Square.
Maguire said city workers heard about the threat in the media and left the building.
A bomb-sniffing dog was brought through Ford's office on Monday, after the bomb threat email came in that urged him to resign. The email arrived on Sunday, but the mayor only told the media on Monday.
While police investigated the threat, no evacuation took place and no explosives were found.
Ford told the media outside of his office that the email warned that he and his brother had "24 hours to vacate" otherwise "city hall will blow."
Maguire said everyone at city hall has "an entitlement to a greater respect than the irresponsibility they were treated with on Monday" by the mayor.
"From the moment media were first alerted to the existence of a purported bomb threat, there flowed a complete breakdown of policies and procedures to deal with such threats," said Maguire.
He said Ford may have "emboldened" others to copy the bomb threat to get the same level of attention the mayor gave this one.
Maguire pointed out he is not a frequent critic of the mayor, but was compelled to take action in this instance.
"I have been very disciplined around not reacting to daily news events," said Maguire, referring to controversy around the mayor's drug use and other events over the past three years. "This crosses the line of health and safety."