Coun. Joe Mihevc said he expects Ford's recent troubles and absence will be presented as a tale of redemption upon his return to work. But that will only work if Ford can convince the public he has changed, Mihevc told reporters.
"For that political redemption story to be born, he has to provide proof that it’s warranted," Mihevc said.
"I don’t know what that proof is. The onus is on him to provide that proof for Torontonians to believe him."
Providing proof is a political necessity in light of Ford's history, he added, but not a legal requirement.
Ford announced a week ago that he was taking a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse.
The mayor later boarded a flight for Chicago, but ended up turning around after landing. His current whereabouts have not been disclosed. His brother, Coun. Doug Ford, said yesterday that the mayor is "nowhere close to the GTA."
Councillors have been divided on how much information the mayor should be providing about his treatment. Some have said that Ford should be left alone to deal with his issues, while other members of council have said they want more details about what he is specifically doing.
Ford, who turns 45 later this month, has spent nearly a year under the intense spotlight of the international media, as a result of stories relating to his substance abuse.
In May of last year, reports emerged that someone had been shopping a video that showed Ford smoking crack cocaine.
The mayor long denied the reports, until police said they had obtained a video file that was consistent with what had been reported. He later admitted to having smoked crack cocaine.
Ford stayed in office and defied calls to step down. In January, he filed papers to run for re-election this fall.
The so-called crack tape was not the only video that drew wide interest from new outlets.
Others included a video of the mayor imitating a Jamaican patois, as well as another that showed him ranting, swearing and talking about wanting "to kill" someone.