Adam Giambrone told the Star that in fact he, as chair of the TTC, merely set “policy” and is not responsible for any and all screwups.

“The chair of the TTC is chair of the board of commissioners … The commission is ultimately responsible for the policy; it hires the chief general manager and the chief general manager and staff are responsible for operations.”

So you’re saying you’re not responsible?

“I didn’t say I wasn’t responsible, but operations are generally under the purview of the chief general manager…. The board sets the fare, but in terms of how you implement it, the chair of the TTC board and the commissioners are not experts in transit operations – and they’re not supposed to be.”

Policies are statements of principles; policies are ideas. But the Toronto Transit Commission does a lot more than state policies. It orders specific actions, dictates operations, and hands out a shitload of money. These are not “policies.”

Linda Diebel of the Star could have conducted the following research herself, but we don’t expect thoroughness from print publications anymore. (The Star endlessly repeated the TTC’s lies about “hoarders” costing the TTC “millions” because honest people wanted to buy tokens at the stated retail price.)

I looked at the last six months’ worth of TTC meeting minutes and easily found the following operational micromanagement.

  • 2009.12.16:
    • Approved layout of new exits at Donlands and Greenwood
    • Approved building a streetcar yard at Leslie and Lake Shore; will pay extra to add to a park
    • Requested new ways to reduce subway suicides. (Suicides are not “policy”)
  • 2009.11.17: Specified a fare increase down to the penny
  • 2009.10.29:
    • Approved $13.7 million and $379.4 million contracts
    • Awarded three contracts, two of which had stated costs totalling $4.844 million
    • Approved design of Steeles West
  • 2009.09.24:
    • Awarded contracts for $14.5 million and $14.34 million
    • Approved design for Sheppard West and York University stations
  • 2009.:
    • Awarded $9.983 million, $10.982 million, and $19,704,314 contracts
    • Approved “finishes” for Union station. (The Commission specified and ordered what your shoes will touch)
    • Approved service-level increases for 2010, 2011, and 2014, including “[s]ervice every 10 minutes or better, during the daytime and evening, every day,” along with transit-signal priority, special lanes on streets, hiring 52 new supervisors, building 75 bus shelters, and “undertaking physical improvements to bus facilities at specified subway stations. ” Ordered TTC to hold “public-information and input meetings”
    • Approved rebuild of bus loop at Seneca
    • Mused about renaming Dupont station
  • 2009.08.09:
    • Awarded $58,446,480.60 contract, plus $9 mil for “office supplies, toner and copier paper.” (The Commission oversees every sheet of paper and dot of toner printed on them.) Awarded $13.4 million contract to Quebec bank and $385,000 to consultants
    • Approved spending even more money ($345,000 more) on Cumberland entrance at Bay
    • Micromanaged 501 streetcar

Adam Giambrone is wrong when he claims somebody else carries out operations. Somebody else also does, but the body he heads issues specific orders. This isn’t “policy,” and anyway, policy is a relevant thing to talk about when you’re running for mayor.

Isn’t it disappointing how the little people who will (or won’t) vote for him just can’t bring themselves to overlook all those pesky operational details?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.02.07 14:05. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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