Rob Ford jokes about reduced office budget in speech to business audience
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 21, 2013 7:12PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 21, 2013 8:54PM EST
TORONTO -- In his first public speech since being stripped of his powers, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford joked Thursday about how his reduced budget is saving the city money.
Ford told a business audience that he had reduced council and the mayor's budget by $6.4 million over four years, and "even more in the last three days" -- a reference to council stripping him of much of his budget this week.
On Monday, councillors voted to slash Ford's mayoral budget and handed many of his duties and staff to Toronto's deputy mayor, Norm Kelly.
On Tuesday, 11 of Ford's staff, including three of the most senior, opted to move over to Kelly's expanded office.
Wednesday marked the first workday for Ford -- who has admitted to smoking crack cocaine and binge drinking -- under the new regime in which Kelly essentially wields the mayor's powers.
During the speech, Ford touted Toronto as the "top place for business investment and innovation," and promised to continue to work to keep taxes down.
Ford also drew a few laughs from the crowd when he took credit for the city's economy.
"Over the last three years I have transformed Toronto into an economic powerhouse," said Ford.