05/24/2013 09:16 EDT | Updated 07/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Rob Ford Councillors Set To Take Over If Mayor Steps Down

The executive committee of Toronto city council has released a letter pleading with Mayor Rob Ford to address allegations that he was caught on a cellphone video smoking crack cocaine.

"The allegations need to be addressed openly and transparently," the letter says. "We are encouraging the mayor to address this matter."

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The committee — which functions in the same manner as a cabinet — issued the letter on Friday afternoon, a week after the scandal erupted around Ford.

Coun. Jaye Robinson, a member of the executive committee, said Friday on CBC's Metro Morning that, “Every day this issue isn’t addressed, it escalates. It simply needs to be addressed by the mayor himself. We’d like to see the mayor come forward and openly address this issue in a clear and transparent manner.”

The letter also sought to assure people that city business continues "without interruption."

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The story caught fire last week when the Toronto Star and the U.S. gossip website Gawker published stories saying their journalists had viewed a video they say appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.

CBC has not seen the video and has been unable to verify its contents.

Gawker is accepting online donations, with the hope of raising $200,000 to buy the alleged video. As of Friday at 12:30 p.m. ET, the site claims to have raised $163,000. Both the Star and Gawker, however, reported Friday that the person believed to be selling the apparent video is no longer responding to phone calls.

And although the tape has yet to surface, Ford is under mounting pressure to comment on its veracity.

So far, Ford has only commented on the accusations to reporters in passing, calling them "absolutely not true" and "ridiculous." Ford also indicated he believes he is being targeted by the Toronto Star.

The mayor's brother and fellow councillor, Doug Ford, came to his defence on Wednesday, lambasting the media's methods in pursuing the story, which he says the mayor told him is not true.

Ford has said that his brother told him "these stories are untrue, that these accusations are ridiculous, and I believe him."

Top aide's departure shocks council

On Thursday, Mark Towhey, Rob Ford’s chief of staff, was fired after he urged the mayor to “get help,” a source told CBC News.

Coun. Robinson said Towhey was “a stabilizing force in the office," and the timing of his departure "is unfortunate" and left council members "shocked."

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