Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads its wings into city hall
Council meeting, Friday night. The city of Toronto, with all its problems and inefficiencies, was once a joyous entity unto itself.
Back in the day, if you couldn’t be the mayor or the mayor’s boss, you could be the mayor’s lieutenant, or even the city clerk. If you were too young, too unruly, or an inveterate titter, you might work as a streetcar motorman or a city printer or streetcar office clerk.
And if life dealt you too many bad blows to make you tough, you could be a city librarian.
But if you were ever unfortunate enough to be one of the three or four people who decided the city’s fate — or to run afoul of a municipal employee, and you happened to be a member of the city’s powerful business or industrial lobby, you might end up a lowly city clerk or city accountant or city engineer.
The power structures that supported the city’s prosperity have shifted over the years, and today the mayor and the cabinet make policy decisions in the city’s interest. The employees who make those decisions live in a very different world.
So it’s remarkable that all of this has now collided — with very troubling consequences — in the city’s budget process. Mayor Rob Ford and his government — and, it is to be hoped, the City Manager’s Office — think they’re so smart.
But let’s make sure that there are no misunderstandings. There is no “skew” when it comes to the fiscal relationship between the city’s employees and the mayor and the city manager. If any employee thinks they are getting special treatment, that’s where their problem lies.
So let’s get to the bottom of this — and get it right — by answering a few questions:
How does this all affect taxpayers?
In the first place, the city’s employees have every right to know who is making the decisions that affect their