Mayor Rob Ford files official return notice at Toronto city hall
TORONTO — Only time will tell whether Rob Ford’s stint in rehab has changed him, some of the Toronto mayor’s colleagues said Tuesday, just weeks before his scheduled return to city hall.
Ford plans to come back to work on June 30, according to a letter he sent to the city clerk’s office.
The letter says he will return to resume his duties as mayor “in the later portion of the afternoon” and asks that his office locks be changed back by 1 p.m.
“I’m hoping that he really seriously applied himself at rehab and he will come back a very changed person,” Coun. Paula Fletcher said.
She said city hall has been “pretty calm and scandal-free” in the mayor’s absence, a sentiment echoed by other councillors.
“Ever since his departure from city hall, things have been very calm, there’s a lot of business being conducted, there’s a level of civility I believe has re-entered city hall,” Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam said.
“It clearly demonstrates to me that when he’s here, he’s a distraction.”
Coun. Janet Davis said it’s impossible to know what to expect from Ford.
“I don’t want to predict how Rob Ford will behave, I don’t think anybody’s ever been able to do that,” she said.
The embattled mayor has been in rehab since announcing on April 30 he was seeking help for an alcohol problem, just as new allegations of substance abuse surfaced in several published reports.
Ford has been faced with allegations of drug use since May 2013, when the Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker reported seeing a video that appeared to show him smoking crack cocaine.
Months later, Ford admitted to trying the drug while in one of his “drunken stupors” and to using drugs while in office.
That led council to strip him of most of his mayoral duties.
Though the mayor then publicly swore off alcohol, he was later forced to admit to drinking after another videotaped incident in which he used Jamaican swear words and slagged the city’s chief of police.
The letter announcing Ford’s return is dated June 2, but the clerk did not receive the letter until Monday, City of Toronto spokesperson Jackie DeSouza said in an email.