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Will Miller oust Moscoe?

Nov. 22, 2006. 01:00 AM

Some say it might be the biggest test yet of Toronto Mayor David Miller’s loyalty.

City council early next month is scheduled to make a host of appointments to various committees, including the Toronto Transit Commission. And the question on a lot of lips is what will happen to outspoken TTC chair Howard Moscoe.

Many councillors say Moscoe has been a polarizing force on the TTC, too intent on staking out headlines and not worried enough about striking deals to help boost the city’s always-struggling transit system. There’s no shortage of “Moscoe must go” forces.

“If I was a constituent of Howard’s I’d say he’s the best guy you could have,” said Councillor Brian Ashton (Ward 36, Scarborough Southwest). “But he’s a lousy manager. It’s just not his style.”

“It’s been the same group on the TTC for too long,” said Councillor Michael Walker (Ward 22, St. Paul’s). “We need more consensus and more aggressive, long-term planning. The last couple years we’ve had a sole sourcing (the fight over giving Bombardier the new subway deal without seeking the lowest bid) and a streetcar replacement plan (the Spadina streetcar right-of-way) that kept getting millions of dollars thrown at it.

“I like Howard but I don’t think he should be on the commission at all.”

Many agree. But Moscoe has been Miller’s loyal soldier and it’s not clear if the mayor will push the long-time councillor out onto the subway platform.

It’s also not clear if he’ll have to. Moscoe told the Star he’d like to keep his job, should Miller see fit to lobby council to put Moscoe back on the TTC and should he push TTC members to put Moscoe back in charge. (Under new rules governing city council, Miller has the right to appoint seven chairs of so-called standing committees, but not the TTC. The mayor can strongly influence the outcome, but council as a whole will continue to choose who sits on the TTC and the TTC members will decide on the chair.)

“I think I should stay,” Moscoe said. “I finally have enough knowledge … that I can think outside the box. But I could do that on the commission and not be the chair.”

If Moscoe doesn’t get the chairman’s job, it could fall to Miller ally Councillor Adam Giambrone (Ward 18, Davenport).