NEWS

Rob Ford loses staff member who made calls to radio show

11/20/2013 01:01 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST
As Toronto Mayor Rob Ford adjusts to a reduced budget and support staff, he’ll also have to move forward without a controversial figure at his side.

Ford has seen his powers reduced by council in the face of a scandal that has seen him admit to having smoked crack cocaine and purchased illegal drugs while serving as mayor.

Among the changes forced upon Ford is the transfer of staff to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.

Yesterday, Kelly announced that 11 people had chosen to move over to his office, leaving the mayor with just nine staff. But overnight, the mayor lost one more ally from his office.

David Price, the mayor’s director of operations and logistics, is no longer working for Ford.

Price joined Ford’s office this year. He has been friends with the mayor’s brother, Coun. Doug Ford, since they were teenagers.

Soon after his hiring, Price became known to the public because of several controversies that occurred when he was working for the mayor.

In June, CBC News broke the story that Price had made a number of phone calls to the mayor’s radio show identifying himself as "Dave," but without stating his long-standing relationship with the Ford family. The calls were made months before he joined the mayor’s office.

Price was later suspended from the mayor’s office after he called a newspaper to complain about a headline on a story about the phone-call controversy.

In September, word leaked out that an investigation was taking place in connection to an alleged incident in which a man broke a door at a GO Transit station after a dispute with a ticket agent. The Toronto Star identified the man at the centre of that investigation as Price.

A month unlike any other

Ford has also recently admitted to drinking to excess and has acknowledged that he may have got behind the wheel after drinking.

Also this month, the Toronto Star paid to obtain a bizarre video of the mayor, which showed Ford ranting and swearing. The mayor said he was "extremely, extremely inebriated" in the video, though he did not explain the circumstances under which it was recorded.

All of the mayor’s admissions and related apologies have occurred since the start of November, which has made for a wild month at city hall and drew the attention of news media from around the world.

The story involving the mayor, the video, his crack-use admission and the circus-like atmosphere at city hall have also become fodder for late-night comedians in the U.S., including David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jon Stewart.

Saturday Night Livehas also featured a skit that centred on the mayor.

So far, Ford has defied all calls for him to take a leave of absence or step down.

The mayor says he is going to run for re-election and that it is going to be an "outright war" in the next campaign.

Ford is three years into his mandate as mayor. The next election is still nearly a year away.

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