Don Valley councillors will be much more influential in Mayor Rob Ford’s administration than they were under David Miller.
On Nov. 29, just two days before the new council takes over, Ford announced his picks for key council positions.
Don Valley East Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong is Ford’s choice to chair public works and infrastructure and will also have a seat on the 12-member executive committee, known as the mayor’s inner circle of councillors.
Newbie Don Valley West Councillor Jaye Robinson’s previous experience at city hall will be put to good use — she has been named to the executive.
And finally, Don Valley West rep John Parker has been named council’s deputy speaker.
“Councillor Parker is a lawyer by trade and his experience at city council will serve him well in this (deputy speaker) role,” Ford said to reporters.
So far, Don Valley East Councillor Shelley Carroll, who was budget chief under former mayor David Miller, has been shut out of a key role with Ford’s administration.
Robinson said her appointment to the executive will help her address big issues impacting her ward.
“What’s happening locally and city-wide are so connected,” said Robinson, who worked in a management role for economic development and tourism for 20 years. “If we drill down to an issue like traffic, transit … our arterials are so congested and we experience so much gridlock so people are re-routing through our neighbourhoods.”
Minnan-Wong knows he has a big job heading up the committee that looks after garbage, water, sewage, recycling and roads.
He said he’s in favour of contracting out the city’s garbage collection when public contracts come up for renewal. However, he stressed it’s way too early to say if that will happen.
“We are going to have to wait and see,” Minnan-Wong said. “But it’s an issue the public wants to have a debate about.”
He also plans to tackle the problem of basement flooding in North York.
“We are going to try and improve service in that area and in the coming days we will have to look at the budget and the types of services we can deliver on,” Minnan-Wong said.
Ford also announced other key players to chair various standing committees and sit on the executive.
Scarborough councillors were given various roles, with Paul Ainslie for government management committee, Norm Kelly for parks and environment, and Michael Thompson for economic development.
York West councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is chair of community development and recreation, Etobicoke-Lakeshore councillor Peter Milczyn will lead planning and growth management and Davenport Councillor Cesar Palacio now chairs licensing and standards.
Ford also recommended these four councillors to round out his executive: Ward 25’s Robinson and Scarborough Southwest’s Michelle Berardinetti and veteran Willowdale councillor David Shiner. Plus, Scarborough-Agincourt Mike Del Grande, a former chartered accountant, as Ford’s budget chief.
Ford will chair the 12-member executive.
The new mayor chose Etobicoke-Centre councillor Doug Holyday for deputy mayor and chair of the striking committee. Ford chose York-South Weston rep Frances Nunziata as city council speaker. Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Karen Stintz was Ford’s pick to head the TTC.
“This is the team that’s ready to get down to the hard work of bringing accountability and respect for taxpayers back to city hall,” Ford said.
“I have a very strong, experienced team here and I look forward to leading the city with them.”
All of Ford’s key recommendations, including his councillor picks for dozens of boards, agencies and commissions is to go before the striking committee and city council for approval Dec. 7.
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