Toronto

TCHC privatization not ruled out by Ootes

The incoming interim managing director of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation won't rule out privatizing the agency, saying 'we certainly need to look at all options.'

Won't comment on fate of embattled CEO

The incoming interim managing director of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation won't rule out privatizing the agency, saying "we certainly need to look at all options."

Case Ootes, the retired councillor who was a deputy mayor under Mel Lastman, will run the TCHC until a new board of directors is selected, which Mayor Rob Ford hopes will happen by June.

Case Ootes will take over as interim manging director of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation on Monday. (Canadian Press)

City council on Wednesday voted 25-18  in favour of ousting the four board members who had refused to step down.

The other nine — seven citizen members and councillors Frances Nunziata and John Parker — resigned in the wake of a report by the city's auditor general that uncovered thousands in questionable spending and millions in improperly tendered contracts.

Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Mandate: Provide quality housing for low- and medium-income Toronto residents.

Tenants: 164,000 in 58,500 rental units.

Employees: 1,400.

Board structure: Three city councilors, the mayor (or a representative), nine citizens, including two Toronto Community Housing tenants. The entire board is appointed by the city, the sole shareholder.

CEO: Keiko Nakamura. Joined TCH in 2005 and has held various executive positions. Appointed to current post in May 2009.

As a result of the Wednesday vote, Ootes will be in sole control of the authority. Some councillors have criticized his appointment, saying he could use his post to make drastic changes to the corporation.

When asked by CBC News if one of the changes could include privatization, Ootes said he wouldn't go into specifics, but did not deny it was one of the options.

"My position on the housing authority is that we have a great asset in terms of what it is capable of doing in terms of providing affordable housing," he said.

"But we certainly need to look at all options to leverage each dollar to its maximum to provide as much public housing, affordable housing to as many people as possible."

As managing director, Ootes will have the power to fire TCHC CEO Keiko Nakamura who last week refused the mayor's request to resign.

"I'm not going to comment on any particular individual. Obviously I'll be dealing with the auditor general's report to determine what needs to be done with respect to staffing," he said.

"And I won't make that decision until I've done a full personal investigation as to the facts and proceed from there."

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