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In this file photo the chambers at Toronto City Hall are seen on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

Etobicoke resident, business owner and family friend of the mayor, Ross Vaughan said he has Rob Ford's blessing – but not his endorsement – for his bid to replace Doug Holyday on city council.

"I've spoken with the mayor and he is appreciative of my interest in serving the community of Etobicoke where I've lived and where he's lived for many, many years," Mr. Vaughan said Wednesday night at the Etobicoke Civic Centre after an information session for those interested in applying for the vacant seat. "A great candidate may step forward and the mayor has to be free to [vote] based on the best candidate for the job, not any person or relationship of which the mayor and I have had since his father became MPP in 1995."

Mr. Vaughan was Doug Ford Sr.'s election-day chair that year and the family's realtor before he retired. He said he also attended Rob Ford's wedding.

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"But I'm not counting on that," he said.

Tony Vella, a Toronto Police constable, also officially submitted his application form.

"It's something that I've always wanted to do and if you want to do something similar to this or anything else, I would suggest that you do it," he said. "We need people that will come forward and assist."

Mr. Vella said he is pursuing the council seat as a citizen, not a police officer, and will resign from the service if selected.

City council will appoint a replacement for Ward 3 after Mr. Holyday won a by-election and vacated his seat to become an MPP at Queen's Park. The chosen candidate will serve on council for a year until municipal elections in 2014.

Long-time Etobicoke resident and volunteer Peter Leon, who was endorsed by Mr. Holyday, submitted his application form as well.

"It's a great honour to have Doug's endorsement but I believe that the council will make their choice based on the factors they're looking for in the candidate to fill Doug's shoes," Mr. Leon said, adding that he believes the selected candidate plays a caretaker role until the pending elections. "I will emulate and follow what Doug has done."

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He sent a letter Wednesday to Etobicoke Community Council chair Vince Crisanti, outlining his community involvement.

Mario Giansante, a former city councillor from Etobicoke, and Chris Stockwell, a former Tory MPP for Etobicoke, also put their names forward. They joined dozens of members of the public who did the same.

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