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Tory names Minnan-Wong as main deputy; seeks to appoint three more

Mayor elect John Tory speaks to the media at a press conference in Toronto, Ontario, Monday, November 24, 2014.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

John Tory is setting up a centre-right administration as he takes over the mayoralty of Canada's largest city Monday – but he's building some important bridges to city council's left.

Fiscal hawk Denzil Minnan-Wong will become second-in-command, as statutory deputy mayor, a source in Mr. Tory's office confirmed Sunday. Mr. Tory will also ask for council's approval to create three other deputy-mayor posts to ensure all corners of the city are represented on his team.

If councillors give him the go-ahead, the source said, Mr. Tory will give Etobicoke's Vince Crisanti, Scarborough's Glenn De Baeremaeker and Pam McConnell, a downtown stalwart, the new jobs. Mr. Crisanti is a member of council's right, while Mr. De Baeremaeker and Ms. McConnell are on the left.

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The insider said each deputy mayor will be given specific assignments in his or her area of the city. Mr. De Baeremaeker, for instance, will handle the Scarborough subway extension. They will also meet with Mr. Tory monthly to give him advice.

"What the mayor wanted to do was reach out," the source said of the additional deputies. "They're important, not just ceremonial – the mayor will be looking to them."

Only Mr. Minnan-Wong's role is mandated by legislation, and he will sit on Mr. Tory's cabinet-like executive committee. The other three will not.

Mr. Tory is seeking to restore calm to city hall and build a working coalition after the chaos of the outgoing Rob Ford administration. Mr. Ford's drug scandals and a combative relationship with council meant he usually failed to get his agenda passed. Mr. Tory must tackle several important files immediately, including the $10.9-billion budget, finding a new police chief and pushing ahead on transit construction to break the worsening gridlock on city streets.

One of his first orders of business will be to meet with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at her office Monday morning. At the top of the agenda is Mr. Tory's request for provincial help tackling the repair backlog in public housing, as well as his Smart Track transit plan.

While most councillors have had their roles changed in the new administration, Mr. Tory retained most of the previous executive. The most notable absence is former deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who assumed many of Mr. Ford's powers during his final months in office. He will not be given a formal role on Mr. Tory's team. The only other members of the previous executive who will not be returning are the controversial Giorgio Mammoliti, the left-leaning Anthony Perruzza and Peter Leon, who did not seek election.

In an interview, Mr. Minnan-Wong named Smart Track, breaking gridlock and keeping taxes low as priority areas. He and Mr. Tory are long-time political allies. "We share very similar views on these things," he said. "I'm humbled to have been asked by him to make my contribution."

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All the other powerful figures in Mr. Tory's administration will be either right-wingers or members of council's so-called "mushy middle." Gary Crawford, a low-profile conservative from Scarborough, will be handed the tough job of budget chief, tasked with keeping a lid on spending. Centrist Josh Colle will be recommended as TTC chair, a job council must approve.

The source said Mr. Tory gave Mr. Crawford his job because he is a "consensus builder who will get things done," and has built up experience as a member of the budget committee.

Other executive committee members will be conservatives James Pasternak (community development and recreation), Michael Thompson (economic development), David Shiner (planning and growth), Jaye Robinson (public works and infrastructure), Paul Ainslie (government management), Cesar Palacio (licensing and standards) and Frank DiGiorgio (at large), and moderates Michelle Berardinetti (parks and environment), Ana Bailao (housing) and Mary-Margaret McMahon (at large). Right-winger Frances Nunziata will continue as council's Speaker.

Aside from the deputy mayors, the only progressive who will receive an important role is Shelley Carroll, who will be appointed to the police services board, alongside Chin Lee and Mr. Tory himself. She will also be named deputy Speaker.

With no progressives on the executive, she said the left's influence will be limited. "I don't think any of us [progressives] is particularly in a leadership role," she said. "The agenda for council is really set in executive committee."

Her appointment to the police board must be ratified by council, and could lead to a showdown. Mr. Thompson, the police board's vice-chair, has been quietly canvassing council support for keeping him on the board, sources have said. It remained unclear Sunday if he would still seek to keep that post.

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"I have no comment at the moment," he said when reached by telephone.

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