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Arvanitis third Ford staffer to leave since new year

Another senior staff member is leaving Mayor Rob Ford's office, two city hall sources have told The Globe and Mail.

Tina Arvanitis, the mayor's director of operations, has told Mr. Ford and some city staff she is planning to depart in the next month or two, possibly to work for the Respect for Taxpayers Action Group, the right-wing citizens' organization Mr. Ford's ex-chief of staff is trying to get off the ground.

If Ms. Arvanitis resigns as she's indicated, she'll be the third senior member of the mayor's team to leave since the new year.

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In late January, Nick Kouvalis, the architect of Mr. Ford's election victory, left the top job in the mayor's office after quarrelling with another staffer, Andrew Pask. Mr. Pask is no longer with the mayor's office.

At the time, Mr. Kouvalis said he had already told Mr. Ford he wouldn't remain chief-of-staff past mid-March.

Mr. Kouvalis is now trying to launch Respect for Taxpayers, a fledgling right-leaning organization he hopes can be a counterweight to the left-leaning groups that tend to dominate civic conversation in Toronto.

"Lots of folks have been showing interest in the Respect for Taxpayers Group that will be formed at some later date," Mr. Kouvalis said Thursday. "Tina is just one of many people who've shown interest."

He added that, as a consultant for Respect for Taxpayers, he won't be doing the hiring for a organization that is little more than a concept right now.

Adrienne Batra, the mayor's press secretary, declined to comment on Ms. Arvanitis's pending departure. "The mayor's office does not comment on personnel matters," she said.

Ms. Arvanitis did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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