[attach]7586[/attach]There is a new TTC chair in town.
Ward 9 councillor Maria Augimeri edged Ward 15’s Josh Colle 23-21 in a council vote to find a replacement for Karen Stintz, who resigned the position on Feb. 19 to run for mayor in the Oct. 27 election. Augimeri will head the transit commission meetings until the current council term ends in December.
Stintz, who is also surrendering her Eglinton-Lawrence council seat, said it was with a mixture of joy and sadness that she left the transit position she has held since December 2010.
She believes wholeheartedly, she said, that she’s leaving it in a better state than she found it.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved at the TTC,” she said, citing bringing in Presto, Wi-Fi and a focus on customer service as major accomplishments. “We’ve had some very significant debates about how our transit system would grow, then we built consensus and arrived at decisions that were balanced and responsible.”
Her biggest accomplishment though, she said, is bringing in the customer service charter, which she said had a customer focus rather than a corporate one, and a corporate plan built around it.
“We developed a fiveyear corporate plan that puts the customer at the centre of everything we do,” she said adding that CEO Andy Byford also played a significant role in the planning.
“I was pushing the management team to develop a mission statement, vision statement, corporate plan, and out of it, that was done, with my key objective being to improve customer service.”
Stintz said also feels she has left midtown in a better place than she found it.
“We’ve got the new subway cars that were introduced which will help alleviate some congestion at the Yonge and Eglinton area, and we’ve got the Eglinton Crosstown under construction right now,” she said. “And after the Pan-Am Games (in 2015), we’ll be looking at fixing and improving the tracks between Eglinton and Davisville (stations).”
Augimeri, who said her priority will be transit riders, didn’t mince words when it came to what she believes her role will be as TTC chair for the next several months.
“This is a caretaker position,” she said, citing her experience running North York Community Council. “I intend to run the next six,
seven meetings as efficiently and well as I can.”
Though Colle thought the post was more than a caretaker position, he took the defeat in stride, even joking while outlining why
he thought he lost.
“I think it’s just that I’m too darn young and charming,” the first-term councillor remarked wryly. “No, I think I put a good case forward, but maybe some people thought you should be here longer to have that role.”