A day after stripping Coun. Vincent Crisanti of his role as deputy mayor, Mayor John Tory is defending the move, saying he has to have a team that is focused on his agenda.

“You can’t have somebody who is supposed to be your partner who is then saying in the same breath that they are going to be out trying to undermine your efforts to move forward,” Tory told reporters Wednesday.

Tory said last night that he is replacing Crisanti with Coun. Stephen Holyday as one of four deputy mayors. The move followed Crisanti’s appearance at Ford Fest on Friday night, where he spoke glowingly about the Ford family as Doug Ford announced that he will be running against Tory for mayor next year.

“I’m so determined to move forward on these issues of housing, and transit and traffic and jobs that I’ve got to be able to focus on them without thinking that somebody who’s sitting supposedly as my partner beside me is trying to undermine me,” Tory said Wednesday. “So I think this is a very simple proposition people understand very easily out there. I just did what I believe is the right thing. I did it courteously, but I had to make a decision as I did.”

A day after being dumped, Crisanti told CP24 he feels he’s been “freed” by Tory’s decision.

He said that Tory should have known that his allegiances remained with the Ford family.

“Mr. Tory knew who I was when he asked me to be deputy mayor -- that my allegiances were for the Fords,” Crisanti said. “In 2010, I supported Rob Ford; in 2014, I supported Rob Ford and Doug Ford in that same term. So my allegiances did not change. There were no preconditions back then. Mr. Tory knew full well that as deputy mayor, my allegiances would remain there.”

Still Crisanti said he thinks that Tory, who called him briefly on Tuesday to notify him of the decision, had other options and could have handled it differently.

“Based on merit and based on performance, I think he owed me at least a sit-down discussion,” Crisanti said. “That never happened.”

While previous administrations have had a single deputy mayor, Tory decided to have four deputy mayors when he took office, one from each major borough in the city. Tory is free to name any councillor to the role. While Crisanti loses the title, he retains his seat and regular functions as a city councillor.

Holyday is a first-term councillor from Etobicoke and the son of former councillor Doug Holyday, who in fact served for a time as deputy mayor under Rob Ford.

He told CP24 Wednesday that he’ll focus on economic development and job growth in the west end of the city as he takes on the deputy mayor role. He also said he plans to stay out of the fray when it comes to the mayoral race.

“What has happened between the mayor and Coun. Crisanti is really between them,” Holyday said. “Frankly I’m really concerned with keeping my nose to the grindstone over the next year and not getting distracted with what’s shaping up to be a mayor’s race.”