Rob Ford says he knows he has given his colleagues at City Hall a rough ride.
"I know, I put this council through some challenges," Ford admitted in council chambers Thursday, his voice trembling. "I know I embarrassed council. And, I want to thank, sincerely, the deputy mayor for taking on the reins."
Norm Kelly took over many mayoral responsibilities when council stripped Ford of them last November. Kelly was also at the helm while Ford was in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse this spring.
In the fourth and final day of the last council meeting of the current term, councillor Pam McConnell applauded the deputy mayor's efforts to restore "stability and respect" to the chamber.
"You have brought us out of dark chaos, and into the light," said McConnell.
She also commended the deputy mayor for "selling" Toronto "at a time in which we were at a bargain basement crash sale."
Norm Kelly described the last nine months as the city's defacto leader "an unexpected, unprecedented and fascinating ride." And he confessed, it is a ride he will miss.
Kelly was honoured with a pair of standing ovations. Rob Ford shook his hand.
City councillors also acknowledged a number of their colleagues not seeking re-election this fall. Among them, former TTC Chair Karen Stintz and ex-budget Chief Mike Del Grande.
Three councillors appointed to fill vacancies after bylections at the provincial and federal level confirmed they will not try to extend their time at City Hall. Peter Leon, James Maloney and Ceta Ramkhalawansingh say they will not be on the ballot October 27.
His voice cracking, Leon told his colleagues he had been encouraged to run after promising he would not.
"I have to look myself in the mirror each morning and know that I must keep my word," said Leon.
Long-time councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby also revealed on the floor of council that she had come to the "difficult conclusion" not to seek re-election. Lindsay Luby's political life began as public school board trustee in 1978. She was elected to Etobicoke City Council in 1985 and was returned to the post in each vote since through amalgamation.
Councillor Doug Ford has will not be returning to City Hall after one term representing Etobicoke North.
The mayor says he know it has been challenge, but his "best friend" has had his back 24/7. Rob Ford also hinted at what may be next for his big brother.
"Queen's Park, you have no idea what's coming up to you next," the mayor said with a laugh.
Doug Ford has been somewhat open about his provincial ambitions but ruled out a run in an Ontario-wide vote this spring to focus on his brother's re-election campaign.
Doug Ford's name has been floated as a potential candidate for leadership of the Progressive Conservatives. The party is without a permanent leader since Tim Hudak stepped down in June. The PCs will choose Hudak's successor in the spring of 2015.
The fourth and final day of the final meeting of the current council was punctuated by music and technical difficulties.
Just before lunch, councillors bobbed and swayed to live performances of Bob Marley's "One Love" and the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There". The mayor briefly took the microphone during a reggae-tinged take on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".
Councillors were on their feet as things the meeting's dying minutes and the chamber itself seem to turn on them. The lights went out briefly, the computer voting system failed leaving councillors to have their say by a show of hands.
Josh Colle drew laughs from his colleagues, remarking "Well, that was a quiet four years."
Moments later, Speaker Frances Nunziata banged her gavel, declaring the final meeting of council adjourned.
UPDATE: Doug Ford dismisses allegations of bad behaviour by Coach Ford
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