Gary Webster, TTC Manager, Fired

Posted: Updated:
GARY WEBSTER
CP

The battle between Toronto mayor Rob Ford and the city's transit chief has reportedly ended with Gary Webster being fired.

His dismissal comes on the heels of publicly resisting the mayor's bid to construct subway lines on key Toronto routes, such as Eglinton and Sheppard Aves.

Instead, the Toronto Transit Commission's general manager had championed above-ground routes.

The ongoing public feud culminated Tuesday with a closed-door meeting of the TTC's nine commissioners -- five of them reportedly Ford allies.

The resolution to sack Webster passed by a vote of 5-4.

"This was not how I expected this to end — certainly not how I wanted it to end," Webster told CBC News after the meeting. "But clearly the choice has been made to replace me as chief general manager and I accept that."

Ironically, just nine days earlier, Toronto city council seemed to side with Webster's vision of urban transit -- voting 25 to 18 in favour of light rail over Ford's subway plan.

After Tuesday's meeting, TTC chair and staunch Webster supporter Karen Stintz thanked her colleague for his year of service.

Hours before the pivotal vote, she had told reporters Webster didn't deserve to be fired.

"At the meeting of council, the general manager gave his professional advice to council; council chose to accept that advice and now we are presented with a special meeting of the commission to potentially replace him," she said.

Stintz also warned that firing Webster could cost the city some half a million dollars in severance.

“There is no cause to fire Gary Webster," she told the National Post. "So if we wish to have a replacement before his contract ends, we need to pay him out."

Not only that, but reports suggest replacing the 35-year TTC veteran will be no easy task.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also weighed in on the transit spat before the meeting, telling The Canadian Press the "time for talk is coming close to an end".

Tuesday's vote went along predictable lines. Ford allies Norm Kelly, Cesar Palacio, Vince Crisanti, Frank DiGiorgio and Denzil Minnan-Wong voted to dismiss Webster 'without cause'.

Stintz, along with commissioners Maria Augimeri, Peter Milczyn, and John Parker voted against the proposal.

Around the Web

Firing TTC's Gary Webster could cost city half-a-million dollars, Karen Stintz ...

Christopher Hume: Toronto loses if Rob Ford wins showdown with TTC chief ...