At 11:00 am today, Adam Giambrone held a press conference at which he profusely apologised to his supporters, to his personal partner, and to his fellow Councillors for the recent revelations about his personal life and his mishandling of the response. Then he left the podium.
A few minutes later, his Executive Assistant, Kevin Beaulieu, return to read the full statement in which Giambrone announced that he was withdrawing from the mayoralty race, but would remain as Councillor for Ward 18 and Chair of the TTC. He wants to address the renaissance of the TTC and the building of Transit City.
Whether he actually gets to do this remains to be seen. The Commission will meet next week, and it is possible that a vote of non-confidence will end Giambrone’s role as Chair. His opponents may use this opportunity to tar much of what he and others in Mayor Miller’s camp have achieved with transit, and that would be a terrible mistake. Those changes, those policies exist not just because of Giambrone, but because many Councillors, the Mayor, Queen’s Park and countless members of the public recognize that transit in Toronto must improve. The Chair may pass to another Councillor, but the organization and the goals remain.
The TTC is in desperate need of clear, unambiguous leadership from someone who inspires confidence and trust, from someone whose word can be believed, whose announcements are not second-guessed as photo ops for a political campaign.
I have been a long-time supporter and advisor to Adam Giambrone, but my view is that he must step down.
It would be interesting to consider direct voting for the TTC Commission. This way the public gets who they want, the people are somewhat vetted by the process, and there is a clear direction that they have to articulate before the election. Plus every 4 years the public gets a say. Are there any examples of cities that do this? Maybe elect a Commissioner of Operations, Commissioner of Expansion and a Commissioner of Maintenance.
Steve: This would, I am afraid, be a disaster. People run for positions so that they can have an active role in them — just look at the ongoing debate about the powers and responsibilities of school trustees. The people who will stand for such an office are not the “business people” or the technically astute, but people seeking to use the TTC as a political springboard.
I hope he continues to chair the TTC. There hava been so many funding announcements lately from the Province mostly but also the Feds that I feel like it’s Christmas with every new transit project securing it’s funding from the different levels of government. I am sure he has been a good advocate for the TTC and helped land all these funding announcements.
Steve: Although it is not widely publicised, the Mayor’s Office had a lot to do with this too because the large projects relate to overall city budgets.
Why isn’t any TTC Chairman’s job just that. TTC Chairman, instead of acting as Councilman and Chairman? Wouldn’t this help focus all his time dealing with TTC issues only along with the General Manager?
With all the dissatisfaction with middle and top management now, I feel the load should be shared with each one dealing with the problems.
How could Adam do both without his constituents suffering or the TTC?
Steve: Some of his constituents make similar points. The Chair’s job, however, has been quite high profile for years, and this didn’t start with Adam.
There is an analogy to Council where major announcements are orchestrated at the political level. Day to day stuff is handled by the staff. The pols don’t like to be blindsided, and they want to be there both to benefit from the good news and to manage the bad.
Do you really think anyone sits across the table from a politician at that level and thinks they’re telling the truth, let alone the whole truth? ANYONE in politics who supports transit does so thinking they’re going to be able to use that support to bolster their own agenda.
Now, they might honestly be a supporter of transit, sure. But they certainly don’t support it without considering how it may impact their career. Or if they do, they’re particularly poor politicians.
Is it possible that the Mayor feels his office would not have such a direct say if an old hand like Mihevc was in the chair, whereas Giambrone defers t.. (ahem) works seamlessly with him at present?
For Miller, taking the Chair himself would give Bob Kinnear a big target to shoot at (assuming BK makes another swing for the news cycle after Kristen Lewis blew his first try away)
This is what’s at the heart of the matter. He’s lost complete credibility in the eyes of many through his own actions. Too many won’t believe him or trust him in the future considering how he’s behaved and staying on in power just looks bad.
The next election is in about 8.5 months,… and Adam Giambrone isn’t likely to win in his own ward anyways. Let alone continue as TTC Chair after the election. Question is should Adam Giambrone be replaced as TTC Chair now,.. or by the new Mayor in the Fall? TTC is already has a crap load of problems now as it is,… so TTC needs a Chair the public can take seriously, now. Either Mayor Miller takes on the role as TTC Chair or he should at least appoint someone temporarily like former TTC Chair Howard Moscoe. Which would make things very interesting, since Mayor Miller has a habit of filling high profile position with left wing councillors and assigning the right wing councillors to committees where they wouldn’t see the light of day.
[Remarks about Giambrone’s private lifestyle and its possible conflict with his role as TTC chair have been deleted here.]
I think Bob Brent put it very well.
Let’s clear this up now: his affair is not our business – it is only the business of those involved in the matter – Giambrone, his partner, the mistress, and their families. I do not see why his affair was anyone else’s business.
Of course he did not want the general public to know – it’s not our business that he had an affair. I think he has done a good job as TTC Chairman up to now, and I do not see how his affair has had a negative impact before it became public knowledge.
Steve: Let’s clear this up indeed. I don’t care how many lovers Giambrone had. What I do care about is that his story to the media and his campaign team kept changing, and he admitted lying to the Star. Next, there was the sudden appearance of his primary partner as a campaign prop at the launch party. Who else might find themself a prop for political advantage rather than a true member of his inner circle? Finally, there was the speech and the missing page. He knew what the message was, but stopped at the end of what he had rather than ad libbing “sorry, the prepared text isn’t here, but I am withdrawing from the race”. This was left to his EA, Kevin Beaulieu. Giambrone didn’t even have the decency to come back and say the words himself.
Do I want someone with those credentials trying to lead the TTC through difficult negotiations with its staff (union and management), the public and Council (the 2010 budget isn’t settled yet)? No.
Exactly. If you listen to all the facts, Giambrone’s credibility just got flushed down the toilet. His lying and manipulation leads to the conclusion that you don’t want this guy in charge. You can’t trust him.
I can’t fathom Mr. Giambrone’s inability to complete the speech. Someone who no doubt has delivered many speeches should be able to manage without one sheet of paper.
On the subject of leadership, the idea that a chairman is leading is in itself ambiguous. A chairman is supposed to lead and develop an organization’s governing body. The chair is not supposed to lead the operation, or even develop strategy. The latter are executive roles – which belong to the Chief General Manager in the case of the TTC.
A number of articles in the press have implied that Giambrone has been micro-managing. A board can’t hold management accountable if the chairman is reaching inside the box all the time.