Deputy mayor Norm Kelly’s office asked for the locks on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s office to be changed during the mayor’s leave of absence for rehab, The Globe and Mail has learned.
City spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza confirmed Tuesday morning that the locks were changed “to keep his office secure while he was away on his leave and to ensure it remained in exactly the same state as when he left.”
A staffer for Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly – who has assumed the mayor’s powers in his absence – confirmed that it was Mr. Kelly’s office that asked for the electronic access cards to be reprogrammed.
The staffer said that, given the number of people who had access to Mr. Ford’s office, that the deputy mayor wanted to ensure that Mr. Ford’s private property and any sensitive documents were kept safe in his absence.
Earlier Tuesday, the city released a letter from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford confirming that he intends to return to work at the end of this month.
In the letter dated June 2 but filed to the city clerk’s office on Monday, Mr. Ford says he will return to his office at City Hall “Monday, June 30th, in the later portion of the afternoon.”
The letter continues to ask the clerk to “please make the necessary arrangements for my office locks to be restored to their state prior to my departure, for 1:00 on the date of my return.”
Since late April, Mr. Ford had been at a rehab facility in Muskoka in treatment for substance abuse. His leave of absence follows a report in The Globe and Mail about the existence of a second videotape that appears to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine.
Rob Ford’s brother and campaign manager, Councillor Doug Ford, said that despite the mayor’s absence and drug and police scandals, he is confident that the mayor can still win re-election in October.
“I think it was clearly demonstrated last week, by electing a Liberal government, that people are willing to give second chances,” Councillor Ford said in an interview with CP24 Tuesday morning. “It’s the people that make decisions. And we look forward to it.”
But at least one of the mayor’s campaign rivals, John Tory, said Mr. Ford has run out of second chances.
“Rob Ford is a failed leader,” Mr. Tory said in a statement.
“He spoke of important values when he came to office, respect for taxpayers and listening to residents outside the downtown. But Rob Ford can no longer deliver any results for Torontonians. He cannot get votes on council and he cannot work with other governments. We’ve been clear that he should resign.”
And Olivia Chow said Mr. Ford’s return would not change anything. “I won’t change any dynamics of my campaign. I have some very, very concrete ideas and I’m putting them out there,” she said. “It won’t change my direction.“
Meanwhile, Mr. Ford’s colleagues at City Hall voiced skepticism that the mayor would change his behaviour after his return.
“Ever since his departure from City Hall, things have been very calm. There’s a lot of business being conducted and a level of civility that has entered City Hall,” Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said.
“It clearly demonstrates to me that when he’s here, he’s a distraction. He’s not prepared for the meetings, he doesn’t stay for the votes as far as I can tell. Over all, I believe that we’ve been far more productive.”
Councillor Janet Davis said she would reserve her judgment until after his return. “I don’t want to predict how Rob Ford will behave,” she said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever been able to do that.”
With a report from Elizabeth Church.