Mammoliti challenged after criticizing city ombudsman
Published Wednesday, October 3, 2012 2:21PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 3, 2012 7:46PM EDT
Giorgio Mammoliti was derided as a “bully” during a city council meeting on Wednesday, after the outspoken councillor criticized the city's ombudsman and accused her of releasing a politically motivated document.
Mammoliti declined to apologize for the accusations, which came during a debate over a recent report from Ombudsman Fiona Crean.
The report, released last week, was critical toward the mayor’s office for interfering in the process to appoint citizens to public boards and committees last year. Crean's report found that the mayor's office “compromised” the hiring process of citizens to city boards by demanding staff speed up the selection process and then reducing the amount of time they had to choose candidates.
The report also pointed to an unnamed councillor who reportedly threatened staff after his bid to choose an applicant with an apparent conflict of interest was challenged.
During Wednesday's debate, Mammoliti dismissed the ombudsman report as a “political document” and suggested Crean went beyond her mandate by criticizing the mayor's office.
Coun. Gord Perks rose to protest Mammoliti’s remarks.
“Our code of conduct as members of council requires that we do not attempt to bully and intimidate Toronto public servants,” said Perks during council.
Speaker Frances Nunziata requested Mammoliti apologize for the remark. He declined and, threatened with expulsion from council chambers, got up to leave on his own "free will."
Mammoliti stopped to address the media and was confronted by Coun. Gord Perks, who demanded he leave the council chamber until he apologized to the ombudsman.
“You are a bully; you are trying to destroy the public service in this city. Get out of here,” Perks said.
Mammoliti warned Perks to get out of his personal space or he would defend himself.
“It’s a consistent pattern of trying to destroy the careers of everyone who disagrees with Rob Ford. Torontonians can’t stand for this,” Perks told reporters.
Mammoliti also spoke to reporters saying, “If there is any political slant to that report at all, I think we need to ask whether the ombudsman has the right to do that.”
He also recommended that Perks seriously consider going to anger management counselling.
Following the lunch break both members apologized for the disruption. Mammoliti clarified that he intended to say that the report itself was politically driven, not the ombudsman herself.
Mayor Rob Ford has rejected the report’s claim that his office mishandled the hiring process.
Debate on the report was deferred until Thursday.