Toronto Mayor Rob Ford slipped out of a meeting of the city's executive committee on Monday in order to coach a high school football.
Ford left the room at around 2:30 p.m. but the meeting didn't wrap up until after 8 p.m., according to the National Post.
Not even Ford's allies in the meeting knew where he went, reports the Toronto Star.
On Tuesday, the mayor told reporters that if he doesn't show up the kids don't play. "Very few times it conflicts with my schedule. That’s why I had to leave two hours before," Ford said, according to The Globe and Mail.
George Christopoulos, the mayor's press secretary, told the Toronto Sun the mayor was at a scrimmage. Christopoulos said it was "rare" for coaching to come before Ford's mayoral duties.
"He was comfortable leaving knowing there were no contentious issues remaining on Exec. agenda and the fact that the remaining items were left in the capable hands of other committee members," wrote Christopoulos in an email, according to the Post.
Ford missed a debates about funding for Pride and the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, the future of Casa Loma and a revisiting of the city's discrimination policy.
Reaction to the mayor's decision has been swift and brutal. "He’s not being paid to coach football. He’s not being paid to do anything other than being mayor by taxpayers," said Councillor Adam Vaughan, according to the Sun. Users on Twitter also were quick to denounce Ford's behaviour.
"Taxpayers paid Rob Ford to coach high school football today while the teacher who should have been had wages frozen," wrote Charles Johnston in reference to the passage Tuesday of a bill to lock teachers' pay in Ontario.
Ford's coaching of the Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School Eagles and his football foundation to fund other teams are closely linked to the ongoing court case which could result in the mayor being booted out of office.
Ford is accused of not declaring a conflict of interest when he gave a speech and participated in a council vote last February to strike down a recommendation that he repay donations he solicited using official city letterhead for his private football foundation.
With files from The Canadian Press.