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Who'll succeed Moscoe at TTC?

City hall source, critics await decision Dec. 5

Nov. 25, 2006. 01:00 AM

TTC chair Howard Moscoe appears headed out of the transit agency’s lead role, according to a city hall source.

“Howard has been told he won’t be the TTC chair. He understands the situation,” the source said.

Moscoe, in Ottawa yesterday, would not confirm such a decision: “We all have to wait. Dec. 5 is the announcement date.”

Mayor David Miller is expected to announce his choices for committee chairs at or just before the Dec. 5 civic inaugural.

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 then choose a leader. But it’s not likely any chair candidate — such as current TTC vice-chair Adam Giambrone — has a chance of being elevated without Miller’s blessing.

“I know David was giving a lot of thought to it … (given) criticism about chair Moscoe’s actions in the last year,” said TTC commissioner Brian Ashton. “(Moscoe) does hold a lot of potential being on the TTC and … he should stay, but not as chair.”

A Giambrone spokesperson said yesterday he would welcome the job, as would commissioner Bill Saundercook, who failed earlier this year to get Moscoe sacked as chair.

The news comes as Moscoe seems re-energized to lead the TTC for another term. He’s recently pitched big plans, too, including a $750 million proposal to automate the subway trains.

But a change is not entirely unexpected. Moscoe himself seemed to leave the door open, telling the Star recently, “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.”

TTC commissioner Sandra Bussin said, “Howard has been a wonderful chair, but I do think it’s time for a change.”

Controversy swirled around the councillor from Ward 15 (Eglinton-Lawrence) in the wake of May’s wildcat strike, when TTC general manager Rick Ducharme accused Moscoe of meddling in labour negotiations and quit.

As a Star headline said on April 30, 1999: “Departing transit boss blames Moscoe — He’s the reason I’m leaving early.”

Many councillors say Moscoe has been a polarizing force, too intent on staking out headlines and not worried enough about striking deals to boost the city’s struggling transit system.