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A new city budget chair? ‘We’re working on it,’ mayor says

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford with budget committee chair Mike Del Grande during a brief stop into the committee room in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2013.

J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he's still working on finding a new budget chair.

Mayor Ford answered questions for about two minutes Monday, after an event for Red Tape Awareness Week. Dressed in a blue Toronto Maple Leafs hockey jersey, the mayor opened his prepared remarks by chanting, "Go Leafs go! Go Leafs go!"

When asked by a reporter if he had found a new budget chair to replace Mike Del Grande, the mayor said simply, "We're working on it."

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Mr. Del Grande resigned as chair last week, after the mayor went against the budget to support a long-shot bid to freeze taxes, and after council added $12-million in new spending to the fiscal agenda. Mr. Del Grande also said he believed a motion calling for greater transparency in the budget process was a non-confidence vote.

Several councillors – including the mayor's brother, Doug Ford, who is now the acting chair – have said they are not interested in the budget chair position.

The mayor's office said last week that a replacement would be "named at the appropriate time."

After Monday's red tape event, the mayor was also asked about Toronto Transit Commission chair Councillor Karen Stintz joining a town hall panel, scheduled for Tuesday evening, that will discuss whether Toronto's political leadership has failed the city. Ms. Stintz has been linked to a possible mayoral run.

When asked if joining the panel was an indication Ms. Stintz is leaning toward running, Mr. Ford said he welcomes anyone who wants to challenge for mayor.

The panel is being hosted by former mayoral candidate George Smitherman.

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