04/30/2015 10:17 EDT | Updated 06/30/2015 05:59 EDT

Toronto City Hall Security Staff Covered Up Rob Ford Incidents: Ombudsman

TORONTO - City hall security staff covered up for an intoxicated Rob Ford or were otherwise derelict in their duty when it came to dealing with his shenanigans, according to a report released Thursday.

The report by ombudsman Fiona Crean identifies several areas where guards violated policy, but lays much of the blame at the feet of the scandal-plagued then-mayor.

"While this was not an investigation into the former mayor or his office, I could not ignore the impact their actions had on security," Crean says.

"The problems I discovered could crop up again in the future unless action is taken."

Crean's probe, which followed several complaints, uncovered several problems that occurred amid the media circus prompted by Ford's erratic behaviour, which included admissions of smoking crack cocaine and public drunkenness.

In one incident on St. Patrick's Day in 2012, the report states, security personnel noted Ford had arrived with two companions and stumbled into his office. The mayor appeared to be "very intoxicated and had trouble walking," according to the guard, who then failed to file an official report as required.

Crean also found that guards helped Ford avoid media by allowing him to drive out of the underground parking garage entrance. On one occasion in April 2014, a guard covered a security camera while the mayor — apparently intoxicated — walked to his car.

In addition, she said, Ford came to use a particular guard for his escort — a violation of existing practice that mandates rotating assignments — creating the impression that he had a personal bodyguard.

"They did not want to say no to the mayor," the report states.

In a notorious incident in November of 2013, Ford began filming and taunting members of the public in the council chambers gallery. Tensions rose when his brother, former councillor Doug Ford, joined the fray. Ford returned to his desk, but rushed back, bowling over a female councillor in the process.

"As the disturbance escalated, security staff stood by without intervening," Crean says.

Ford eventually withdrew from last October's mayoral re-election race after his diagnosis with cancer, but was elected as a councillor in his west-end ward.

He did not immediately comment on the report.

Overall, Crean concludes that city hall security failed to fulfil its mandate to provide equal protection for everyone. Complaints were not investigated properly, security was slow to respond, and its approach was reactive and fell short of expectations, she says.

The report faults managers for failing to adopt new measures or training staff properly.

"Security was in a difficult situation at times in the last administration," city manager Joe Pennachetti said in a statement.

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