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UPDATE: Mayor defends TCH CEO after release of scathing report

Ombudsman Fiona Crean has found that there has been improper hiring, promotions and salary increase practices at TCHC.

Mayor Rob Ford is once again defending Gene Jones, the CEO of Toronto Community Housing, after a scathing report was released by the city's ombudsman.

"Is he perfect? No," Ford told reporters, a defence he has used for himself as well.

"There's minor mistakes that happen in every office," the mayor went on to say.

He adds that he doesn't think there is anything scathing in the report.

That report, released by ombudsman Fiona Crean on Tuesday, found that there has been improper hiring, promotions and salary increase practices at TCHC.

"It's an alarming tale of some senior executives ignoring policy and running an organization as though it was their own personal fiefdom," Crean says. "Unilateral decisions and inequitable treatment became the norm."

She adds that this was a pattern "set at the top" by CEO Gene Jones, who was hired in 2012 with mayor Rob Ford's endorsement.

"The CEO set the tone, describing his every move as his prerogative," Crean says of Jones.

In the over 100-page report, she lists many examples of TCHC's human resources rules not being followed:

- One day after being appointed, the CEO promoted a director to become the interim Vice President, Human Resources. No resumes or applications were reviewed, no candidates interviewed. One month later, the acting assignment was made permanent, again without a competition. The promotion never went to the Board for approval.
- The CEO hired a new vice president four days before the competition closed. When asked if this prevented other qualified candidates from applying, the CEO replied “No. Absolutely not.”
- In another case the CEO hired a manager, promoted her six months later to a senior director with a $30,000 raise, without a process, job description, job evaluation or competition.
- The CEO put his executive assistant into a management level category allowing her to claim paid overtime, something not permitted by the rules.
- Changes to employment contracts altered fundamental terms of employment for non-union staff, and eliminated long-held common law rights to notice and severance pay. The policy change was made without proper approvals and inadequate notice to staff.
- Senior executives failed to declare a conflict of interest when hiring people they knew personally.

To make matters worse for Jones, Crean says that when she met with him on April 15, he had failed to look through her draft report "thoroughly."

"He didn't engage," she told reporters. "I was surprised by that demeanour."

But when she was asked whether she thinks Jones can continue on as CEO, Crean said it was not for her to determine.

"I will not make any recommendations with respect to labour relations. It is not my purview nor my jurisdiction," Crean says. "What I have put in front of the board (of directors) is a set of decisions that presumably they're going to have to make."

The mayor says getting rid of Jones would not be a "smart move" right now.

"That will do a tremendous amount of damage to this city," Ford says. "I will not be happy with that decision."

Crean has put forward a set of 12 recommendations. They include:

- That TCH comply with its own policy framework, and that any changes must be properly communicated to staff with appropriate notice.
- That TCH train its senior executives regarding human resource policies and requirements and that all decision makers be properly trained with respect to the recruitment rules.
- That the Conflict of Interest Policy be expanded to capture past business relationships and other personal associations

The board held a special closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon to go over the report.

Chairman Bud Purves told reporters afterwards that the board is taking the matter seriously and accepts that the organization's human resources function has to be modernized.

He says, though, that the board needs more time to discuss the report and will continue the meeting on Friday morning.

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  • 42
  1. arthur posted on 04/22/2014 11:59 AM
    what is it about this organization and the CEO ?
    There's always something. needs more oversight. this guy can't do it ditch him. who's responsible for bringing him on board? ditch them also.
    1. AC posted on 04/22/2014 12:08 PM
      @arthur - In another case the CEO hired a manager, promoted her six months later to a senior director with a $30,000 raise, without a process, job description, job evaluation or competition.
      - The CEO put his executive assistant into a management level category allowing her to claim paid overtime, something not permitted by the rules.

      hmm.......sounds like some favours were probably returned. I would want something in return for my extra nice approach to the running of the business with some of my people
  2. Frankie posted on 04/22/2014 12:17 PM
    TCHC has been in disaster mode long before Jones was hired. IMO a lot of the negative comments towards him are from those who've been screwing the system for years and don't want the status quo to change.

    I have no comment on this specific accusation.
    1. Sonny posted on 04/22/2014 12:50 PM
      @Frankie Ford is a big supporter of Jones!
  3. William Paul posted on 04/22/2014 01:09 PM
    why not ask Crean why her own office has ZERO white males on staff? She should look at her own fiefdom before butchering others. This, ahem, person has to go. She is dead weight and belongs in the 'where-is-she-now" file. What nerve this****** has!
    Enough already, show her the door!
    1. Dawn posted on 04/22/2014 01:14 PM
      @William Paul You're attacking the messenger. The problems of TCHC has continued under Ford!
    2. Frankie posted on 04/22/2014 02:59 PM
      @William Paul IMO past comments from Crean have been very biased against those trying to clean up various fiscal messes. Know nothing about this specific matter however I would always be very suspicious of any comments she makes.
  4. David posted on 04/22/2014 03:16 PM
    i remember a few months ago John Tory interviewed him.(about overspending on his office) He spent 10 mins. singing his praises for a 5 min interview.I wonder if 1010 will play that interview ad nauseum. I would be very interested in Tory's take on it now..
  5. arthur posted on 04/23/2014 12:52 AM
    reading the points of the report. it's unbelievable the mismanagement/conflict of interest the total neglect of leadership of a public service. He has to go!
    he ran Detroits social housing? well that kind if explains everything looking at Detroit. Rob Ford likes him? That kind of just nails the door shut. They're both idiots who don't follow rules.
    He's only been here what a few years and it's been nothing but crap. He wanted a bigger office remember? Wasn't there there crap about him and lying on resume in the states if I recollect.
    how much wasted with this guy?
  6. Brief and to the Point posted on 04/23/2014 02:26 AM
    Rob Ford and Stephen Harper, two peas in a pod.
    Neither one of them is capable of recommending or appointing quality people.
    1. tanjo posted on 04/23/2014 03:02 PM
      @Brief and to the Point Except when the S*** hits the fan, Harper was quick to put it out with the trash. Ford dives right in and calls it a mud-wrap.
  7. Barbara posted on 04/23/2014 04:48 AM
    If we delete the words "TCHC", the comments made by the ombudsman in her report could eaily be true for many City of Toronto departments. I worked for the City and I am very aware of the many firings, denied opportunities, inappropriate hirings with no reference checks, etc, etc.

    This begs one question, why has the ombudsman singled out this one department for review?
    1. Frankie posted on 04/23/2014 07:01 AM
      @Barbara Exactly the point I was making earlier about her bias
    2. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 10:18 AM
      @Barbara "This begs one question, why has the ombudsman singled out this one department for review?'

      The answer to your question is Rob Ford.
      The sad fact is anything attached to Rob Ford, or even anything arms-length, is reason enough to attack. Even without looking at facts or reasoning.
      I heard Andrew Coin(?) on this topic yesterday and Ed Kennan this morning, and because Rob Ford is somewhere in the mix, it was automatically 'corruption scandal'.
      Whereas, if Jones was picked by Shelly Carroll, or Mr. Vaughn, would there be as much of an outrage? I highly doubt it.

      There are many people on the tax-payers dime who don't like the shake-up by Ford or Jones. This is an exemplary example of that
  8. justsaying posted on 04/23/2014 10:01 AM
    Oh Rob Ford! When asked about this he says "we all make mistakes, I stand beside him." Really? How many times will you use the same line and expect us not to tire of it or laugh out loud at these lame replies?

    Looks to the city like Rob Ford put a Gravy Boat in charge of those who need the best help the city can offer. Rob Ford is driving this gravy train, with his buddies!

    Another blunder..... What a joke.
    1. sam posted on 04/23/2014 11:12 AM
      @justsaying no freakin way the board can leave this idiot in the position now going forward
  9. sam posted on 04/23/2014 11:33 AM
    just now i read Ford would like to eliminate the ombudsman position after her report.
    this man has to go! NOW!
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 11:35 AM
      @sam Wow...he has to go- just for expressing an opinion.
      It's funny you think him so dangerous- even with whatever little power he has left, thanks to yours truly City Council....

      Ford needs to stay.
  10. justsaying posted on 04/23/2014 12:07 PM
    Karl: I am very sorry to learn that you were dropped on your head as a child - repeatedly. Otherwise I sure your intelligence would not have been so severely damaged.

    An "opinion" to fire the Ombudsman, following her report showing corruption in a department the Mayor defends? An OPINION? You must think we too were dropped on our head as children to buy into your absurd opinion of this story.

    This clearly shows that the mayor too is corrupt, otherwise he'd not be calling on those who find corruption in his administration to lose their job. Fire the city-appointed whistle blower for finding corruption in the Ford Administration? He keeps putting his foot in his mouth and you keep defending it?

    I'd refrain from posting Karl - you are looking desperate, ignorant, ill-informed, and desperate.
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 12:34 PM
      @justsaying No, the report shows ignoring red-tape to get change to move swiftly. The question we should be asking is:
      *Was this accomplished?
      *Was it worth it?
      *If this was successful, can there be any change to the rules, to get the process done faster in the future?

      The problem with you justsaying, is that you are willing to dump on Ford, no matter the topic and no matter the situation. If the mayor supports Jones, there is a reason for it. I already expressed that I didn't agree when Jones asked for a plush office. Ford didn't like it either- and had a talk with Jones about it. Of which Jones released a press conference apologizing for his faux-pas.
      But unfortunately, that is something you're willing to overlook because you are too blinded by your hatred. At least I have the decency to critique Ford/Jones where applicable, but at the same time, not have it cloud my judgement.

      I guess if you're parents dropped you on your head as a child too, maybe you wouldn't be so angry, and foolish with your comments later in life- all the time.
  11. Jason posted on 04/23/2014 03:25 PM
    Where's Mark7? Am surprised he hasn't seen this. Mark7s defense are always comical.
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