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Mayor Ford Back at Work with Future in Legal Limbo

A day after Mayor Rob Ford was in court for his appeal of a conflict of interest ruling, it was back to work at city hall

A day after Mayor Rob Ford was in court for his appeal of a conflict of interest ruling that tossed him from office, it was back to work at city hall for the first official business of 2013.

Ford wasn't in the mood to talk about the state of the city with his job in legal limbo, dashing from his office to a second floor meeting room, answering few questions.

While the city and it's politicians wait for a ruling that could up hold or overturn the decision that removed him from office, Ford was asked how it could be business as usual at city hall and suggested he was going to "show up go to work and respect taxpayer money."

But a political foe suggested that mantra might be easier said than done.

"It's not business as usual at all," says councillor Gord Perks. "The entire city is under a cloud right now."

Work did get done Tuesday, with the Executive Committee re-appointing Councillor Mike Del Grande as the chair of the Budget Committee and Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday as chair of the Employee and Labour Relations Committee.

On the final budget committee meeting before passing the 2013 document off to the Executive Committee and then over to council for approval next week, more than $400,000 was found that will be allocated for EMS to hire more paramedics. The budget committee also voted to resume an environment study of future options for the Gardiner Expressway.

But even as business was underway, there was still plenty of chatter on what happens if Ford is turfed from office.

Councillor Karen Stintz, a rumoured mayoral candidate, says right now she doesn't favour re-appointing Mayor Ford as has been suggested by deputy mayor Doug Holyday.

She says she'd like to hear more from Ford about his vision for what would be left on his term before supporting that option. She would be open to a by-election if Ford wanted one to take place.

Perks says he supports a by-election.

"I don't that a group of 44 councillors should pick the next mayor of Toronto," adding that no matter that cost, it's the price of democracy.

Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby favours an appointment because of the cost, and says she'd like to be a caretaker mayor until the 2014 election.

"The city has a lot of challenges," she says. "I'm very well aware of the issues before us. I've been a councillor for many years. I think I understand how the city works."

A decision in Ford's conflict of interest appeal is not expected for several weeks at the earlier.

If the ruling removing Ford from office is upheld, council would have 60 days to either appoint a mayor or hold a by-election.

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