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Carroll accuses mayor of not showing up at the office

Shelley Carroll, City Councillor for Ward 33, Don Valley East and Toronto's Budget Chief during the 2007 Budget Debate in the Counsel Chambers of Toronto City Hall in Toronto. 23/04/07

Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Councillor Shelley Carroll, who is considering her own bid for mayor, says Rob Ford isn't doing the job and needs to show up more at the office.

Ms. Carroll, a key member of former mayor David Miller's team and a frequent critic of Mr. Ford, made the charges Tuesday, the same day staff issued a last-minute cancellation of his regular weigh-in – part of his public battle to shed 50 pounds. Staff later said the mayor had off-site meetings he couldn't reschedule.

Ms. Carroll said aside from his appointments with the scales and the weekly call-in show he hosts with his brother Doug, there is no telling what Mr. Ford does.

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"We don't see a lot of the mayor," Ms. Carroll said. "We see him at the weigh-in and we hear him when he is on the radio on Sunday. ... He is not here and he is not working with council."

Her advice to Mr. Ford: "Get out of the radio station, come back to city hall and work with your fellow councillors to decide the future of this city."

Mr. Ford's press secretary declined to comment on Ms. Carroll's remarks, but Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday was quick to call her comments nothing more than an attempt to score political points.

"The mayor's job calls for the mayor to be out and about and in all parts of the city, said Mr. Holyday, the former mayor of Etobicoke." I think he is certainly [at city hall]when needed. I know it takes a lot of time to be mayor."

Mr. Ford's schedule has been a constant point of contention since he took office. While senior elected officials usually make their official itineraries public, Mr. Ford has opted to keep his whereabouts private. When asked about his schedule, staff frequently say he is in meetings, without providing further details. Reporters have resorted to filing freedom of information requests for Mr. Ford's schedule.

Councillor Ford called the accusations "ridiculous."

"There is no one that works harder every day down there than he does," he said of his brother. The mayor recently held meetings with about 20 councillors, he said, acknowledging that Ms. Carroll was not among them.

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"He doesn't meet with people that want to kill him politically," he said.

Councillor David Shiner, who sits on the mayor's executive committee, said Mr. Ford is willing to meet with councillors from all political stripes, noting that he sat down with Janet Davis and Sarah Doucette this spring to discuss the introduction of fees for city playing fields.

"I can't believe sitting at your desk at city hall is going to make it function better," he said.

Ms. Carroll said earlier in the term she did ask for a meeting with Mr. Ford, but it was "very difficult" to schedule one. Since then, she said she has not tried.

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