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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!
    2. AC posted on 04/22/2014 01:00 PM
      @Sonny could it be Jones is dipping into the gravy?
  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.
    3. sam posted on 04/22/2014 03:22 PM
      @Frankie maybe you're biased Frankie. accusing her of not being professional at her job just because she might hold people to account that are not doing a proper job but you still support them no matter what
    4. Frankie posted on 04/22/2014 03:46 PM
      @sam Look at her record before suggesting I'm biased. No issue with what her mandate is supposed to be, only referring to her apparent bias in whom she goes after and how, which seems skewed towards those trying to be fiscally prudent.
    5. tanjo posted on 04/23/2014 12:02 AM
      @Frankie Let's be honest Frankie, if we are talking about people being fiscally prudent at city, you are looking a small sample size to begin with, and their leader is well known for not knowing, let alone following, the rules.

      "Lefties", or more accurately, the Bureaucracy (however it is spelled) are all about rules, and applying them evenly regardless of whether it makes sense or not.

      It therefore makes sense for an ombudsman, who's job is to determine if the rules are being followed, would tend to focus on the group that traditionally does not follow the rules. However, as Crean rightly pointed out, it is not up to her to make a judgement of fault. That falls to the TCHC, which, Crean pointed out, needs to ask more questions than it has in the past.
    6. Townie posted on 04/23/2014 09:46 AM
      @Frankie How is unilaterally approving $30,000 pay raises and job classification allowing billing for OT work considered "fiscally responsible?" Quite convenient that you have a whole heck of a lot to say about Crean, while admitting that you have nothing to say about these current allegations. Makes for easier back-pedalling later, eh? You're funny, but unfortunately it's not my kind of comedy.
    7. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 11:55 AM
      @tanjo I think to your point TANJO, its more accurate if you say, "lefties" only follow the rules, if its in their favor. And when those rules get abused, that's when you run into trouble.
      And I do have my doubts about the ombudsman. I heard her clip yesterday on AM 640. Her reasoning sounds like a very convenient excuse to me. But that's just my opinion.
    8. tanjo posted on 04/23/2014 02:36 PM
      @Karl Burgin I am drawing a distinction between "not following" the rules and "abusing" the rules.

      For example: if you happen to know someone highly qualified that you trust and is perfect for the job, then while you are "not following" the rules, you are NOT "abusing" the rules.

      If on the other hand you hire someone as a reward, or as a favour to a friend, then you are "abusing" the rules.

      The left-right distinction applies more to "not following" the rules, primarily for benevolent reasons. e.g.. to save money or expedite a process. Righties are more likely look for short cuts. Lefties tend to do everything by the book.

      Political orientation is not a factor when one "abuses" the rules. I can list as many lefties as righties who's greed trumped their accountability.
  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
    3. Brief and to the Point posted on 04/23/2014 10:27 AM
      @Karl Burgin Your deflections and excuses aside, you answer your own question ("would there be as much of an outrage?"). This is plainly another example of classic Rob Ford - with little or no concern for "rules".
    4. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 10:30 AM
      @Brief and to the Point Wow....
      ....and here I thought it was Gene Jones under fire, and not Rob Ford. But you can't seem to be able to tell the difference- because the lines for you are blurred so much.

      In any case, you've just proven my point. Thank you for your co-operation.
    5. justsaying posted on 04/23/2014 10:44 AM
      @Karl Burgin Karl - Stop lying to us all. You know as well as I do that the mayor is defending GJ just as he has his drug dealing driver. Did you not hear him give support to this public servant who is blatantly putting his friends and pals onto the city's tab - the EXACT Gravy Train Rob said he was against?

      Yet - Rob says he supports him?

      That is why the Mayor has become tied to this story - he put himself directly in the MIDDLE of it. So stop saying it isn't about him. If he'd just keep his mouth closed he would not have to take his foot out of it constantly. (just like he did last week at the ACC. Drama Queen Ford just can't resist) Karl - You really should pay closer attention to issues you comment on. It makes you look as uninformed as the mayor and Fraud Notion.
    6. arthur posted on 04/23/2014 11:10 AM
      @Barbara maybe you should of reported your concerns at the time to your boss instead of just making accusations towards others if what you say is true. Or else you get partisan people like Frankie throwing in their biased 2 cents.
      I'm not getting your point. You're ok with corruption and mismanagement of public money if it's under Fords watch? or if it was still David Miller as mayor you would agree with the report? which one?
    7. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 11:33 AM
      @justsaying I never DID NOT say Rob Ford is defending him. I'm not arguing that point. Nor am I denying that Ford is not throwing Lisi under the bus.

      I'm not an expert as to what's going on here, but I listened carefully between Ryan Doyle, Andrew Coin and Bill Carroll on this issue- and as always, the truth of the matter always lies somewhere in the middle.
      What I gathered from those three on this issue is this:
      Gene Jones came to clean up a mess that has been a stagnant mess. Yes he fired people with very little warning, and hired those who was thought to best in implementing change. The issue many people are having (including the ombudsman) is that a lot of red tape was ignored. If Jones played by the rules, and acknowledged the red tape, the story of the day would be very different. Probably along the lines "Ford brings in new CEO, and still no change".
      From the looks of it, in yours (and the other haters') eyes, they are doomed to fail- matter what they did.
      I take it from this approach- look at the results, and the either change the rules or remove the red tape altogether.
      Andrew Coin made the point that the red tape is there for a reason- and I do kinda agree with him there. But Doyle counters that because of so much red-tape, it makes government/management excruciatingly slow.

      At the end of the day, this is all about Gene Jones not respecting the red tape. And because Rob Ford is attached to this story, it makes the topic all the more salacious. Besides, there hasn't really been a Rob Ford fiasco to jump all over- so I can only sympathize with the Ford-withdrawal symptoms the media must be experiencing going so long without a Ford scandal to latch onto.

      And to you JUSTSAYING, as general rule, you (and those who think like you) should really stop attacking others, because they don't agree with you- especially when the topic is Rob Ford. I don't agree with you or BRIEF TO THE POINT, but you don't see me foaming at the mouth with name calling and insults.
      And don't let your utter disdain for Ford blind you from seeing the situation as it really is. I too thought Gene Jones was trouble (i.e. I didn't think it was Kosher for Jones asking for a more plush office). But overall he's done a good job.
    8. Brief and to the Point posted on 04/23/2014 11:39 AM
      @Karl Burgin Ford says he found Jones.
      Ford says he likes the way Jones is doing the job.
      Ford turns a blind eye to all the malfeasance of Jones' operational tactics.
      Of course Rob Ford is under fire - by his own words and actions.
      You need to give your thick skull a good rap.
  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.
    2. Mark7 posted on 04/23/2014 11:44 AM
      @Karl Burgin You're an idiot...Google "Lisa-Joan Overholt", you'll find that she's a Rob Ford campaign volunteer and donor, had a TCHC job created for her. She was quickly promoted and given a $30,000 raise.
    3. Kar''s mom posted on 04/23/2014 11:44 AM
      @Karl Burgin Karl - you need to go - like to a full-time job.
    4. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 11:47 AM
      @Kar''s mom I have one and a half. You're the one that needs a job. And when you go for a job, you'll need to provide your actual name- not someone else's
    5. sam posted on 04/23/2014 11:48 AM
      @Karl Burgin opinion? hahaha the phuck supports Jones. what effing idiot comes out the next day after a damning report of corruption of public money by the leadership at social housing and says the messenger has to go.
      um..only Rob the scumbag Ford does
    6. Karl Burgin posted on 04/23/2014 11:48 AM
      @Mark7 It's nice to see you too donny.
      I didn't see you at the Ford campaign kick-off. Was really looking forward in introducing my fist to your teeth.
    7. donny p. posted on 04/23/2014 11:57 AM
      @Karl Burgin Told you where I was...waited half an hour. Your nothing but a lying cunt that continues to cyberstalk with your threats. Somebody should report you yellow livered piece of shit to the cops.

      You're nothing but a lying cunt...a brown lying cunt at that.
    8. tanjo posted on 04/23/2014 02:41 PM
      @Karl Burgin When the mayor expresses a desire to eliminate the ombudsman position whenever she expresses something he doesn't like.

      Anyone that hopes to see accountability in government should be extremely concerned about this.
  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.
    2. tanjo posted on 04/23/2014 02:50 PM
      @Karl Burgin This is why the report did not find fault. It only stated that the rules were not followed. TCHC must ask the questions, and find out WHY the rules were not followed, which could lead to the questions Karl pointed out (or not), and make a determination from there.
  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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