So You Want To Be A Transit Commissioner (Update 2)

Updated June 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Two media reports indicate that the City Clerk has taken umbrage at comments in this article, and I feel compelled to reply.  As a general note, my quarrel was primarily with the TTC’s representative, not with the Clerk’s staff.

From Inside Toronto:

Recent information sessions held for aspiring civilian TTC commissioners were always intended as informal drop-in sessions rather than organized meetings, said a spokesperson for the city on Wednesday.

Martin Herzog characterized the four sessions, two of which took place Tuesday in Scarborough and North York, as an opportunity for individuals interested in applying to join the TTC board to get further information about the application process.

Herzog was responding to criticism that emerged this week on how the sessions were run.

“The sessions were never designed to be meetings with formal presentations,” said Herzog, the city’s acting manager for governance structures and corporate performance. “There was no formula for this.”

And later:

Online criticism of the information sessions is completely inaccurate, said Herzog.

“There’s some stuff trickling around full of factual errors,” he said.

There are no “factual errors” in my article, and methinks the Clerk doth protest too much.  Whether it was the original intent or not, Monday’s “drop in” turned into a 90-minute Q&A with the TTC’s Vince Rodo that had no prepared content, but lots of remarks that left a bad taste in my mouth particularly when coupled with earlier comments from a member of Council who sits on the Civic Appointments Committee.

As I reported, the Clerk’s Office had prepared a briefing package for those who attended and it contained a great deal of well-organized material culled from the City’s website.

From NOW:

Joe Borowiec of the city manager’s office dismisses the suggestion the external headhunting process has made outreach to the general public redundant. He says Munro misunderstood the intent of the public sessions, and that they were intended to be drop-in sessions rather than formal meetings.

Borowiec says that the city manager’s office is required to open the process to the public and insists that that all applications will be taken seriously.

“There’s no reason why someone who walks in off the street and picks up a form would not be a successful applicant,” Borowiec says. “We’re not looking to limit it to only corporate directors. We’re looking to reach out and communicate with anybody and everybody out there because we don’t know where those possible candidates are.”

That’s not what Rodo (the seeker of “Barons of industry”)  said, and it’s not what the specifications for the job state.  If Council actually intends director-level experience as a “nice to have”, not a “must have”, then they need to say that explicitly in the job ad.

Meanwhile, in answer to all who have asked, I will not be applying.  Becoming a Commissioner would severely compromise my ability to comment independently and to interact with various agencies and my now-peers in the journalistic/blogging community.  Much more can be achieved as an independent external voice.

Continue reading