Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford didn’t brush up on his conflict of interest rules, and now he has been ordered to step down by a judge. By participating in a city council vote that directly impacted his personal finances, Ford violated conflict of interest laws in blatant fashion, and will be removed from office, pending appeal. If Ford can convince voters that his conflict of interest doesn’t conflict with their interests, he can run to be Toronto’s mayor again.
The vote that caused Mayor Ford to legally step over the conflict of interest line was in response to some already-sketchy decisions by the Toronto mayor. He had members of his staff solicit donations for his football charity from donors who had lobbied the city government. This already ought to smell strongly of conflict of interest, but Ford would have kept his job had he not then voted on whether or not he should be forced to repay the money from his own pocket. Ford brazenly participated in the vote, defying both conflict of interest laws and basic common sense.
Ford will now likely lose his job over $3,150, which the council has recommended he repay anyway. Ford makes just over that much every week on the job. Further irony: he rejected a pay increase for himself in August of this year of about $5,000 annually. If only he had shifted his decisions on how much he will take in to a different situation, there would be no legal conflict of interest, and we would never have learned Ford’s name.
Credit the Canadian judiciary for enforcing their laws, when over a small dollar amount, they may have been tempted to ignore this small but obvious moment of cronyism.