01/17/2013 06:37 EST | Updated 03/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Del Grande Quits As City Budget Chief


Unhappy over last-minute moves to add new spending, Toronto budget chief Mike Del Grande resigned his post on Wednesday.

Del Grande, who has held the position for two years, had hinted at making the move and told CBC News he feels “free at last,” after stepping down.

“I think it’s time for me to move on and focus my energies at the Toronto Police Services Board,” he said.

Del Grande was the main architect of the city’s $9.4-billion budget, which was approved by council on Wednesday.

The budget includes a two per cent residential property tax hike. What galled Del Grande, along with other right-leaning council members such as Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, was the addition this week of $12 million in new spending measures.

That extra money was earmarked for the fire department, childcare services and a student nutrition program.

Del Grande, who represents the ward of Scarborough—Agincourt, told CBC News he was also displeased with a motion put forward by Coun. Joe Mihevc that called for more transparency in the budget process.

“I viewed it as being a non-confidence motion,” said Del Grande. “I got up to speak to it and council still went ahead … I was kind of shocked by that one.”

This week Mayor Rob Ford reversed his earlier opposition to a move that will add 63 firefighter positions. Earlier in the budget process, Ford was opposed to the plan and had accused the union of "blowing smoke" on the issue.

Also this week, Ford voted in favour of a motion put forward by another council member that called for no budget increase, sparking criticism the move was akin to voting against his own budget.

In a Thursday morning appearance on CBC Radio's Metro Morning, host Matt Galloway asked Del Grande if those moves by mayor amounted to a betrayal.

“I don’t want to second-guess the mayor," he said. "I think the mayor did what he had to do. Do I like it? No. Do I wish that he had the votes to hold the line? Sure, that would have been the better thing to do.”

Despite the new spending measures, Del Grande said the 2013 budget is a good one for the city.

"I think we kept the reins tight and tried to re-jig and re-distribute some of the resources we had to make it equitable across the city.”

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