Rob Ford roundup: Welcoming new ’movers and shakers’ to the mayor’s office

Four new staff get a tour of City Hall
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford address the media regarding the resignation of two more people from his staff at city hall in Toronto on Thursday, May 30, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Nathan Denette/CP

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has gone about replacing some of his staff, six of whom were either fired or quit over the past two weeks.

Four fresh faces, who Ford described as “movers and shakers,” showed up in the mayor’s office Monday, as the controversy surrounding an alleged video of the mayor smoking crack cocaine moved into its third week.

Its, difficult to tell, however, just who is a mover, who is a shaker, and who moves and shakes, because Ford hasn’t announced the duties for any of his new hires, aside from calling them “special assistants.” The Globe and Mail describes this as “an entry-level position that focuses on taking calls from constituents.”

He did, however, release an updated phone list with the names of the new staff. They are: Katrina Xavier Ponniah, Victoria Colussi, Jonathan Kent and Rob Krauss, reports the Toronto Star.

All the new hires appear to be quite young. The Star reported that Xavier Ponniah is a recent grad from Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. whose Linkedin profile lists administrative-type work experience.

Krauss appears to have some background in politics. His Linkedin profile lists him as working for Coun. Doug Ford and as having worked on the campaign for Conservative Labour Minister Lisa Raitt.

A Linkedin page belonging to Colussi shows her as having a diploma from Seneca College and working, most recently, as an office co-ordinator at the college.

Special assistant Tom Beyer, who has worked at the front desk in Ford’s office, is being promoted to become the mayor’s new executive assistant, reports The Star.

In the past weeks, Ford fired his chief of staff, Mark Towhey. Then, Ford’s press secretary George Christopolous and deputy press secretary Isaac Ransom quit, followed by policy adviser Brian Johnston and executive assistant Kia Nejatian. A sixth employee, special assistant Michael Prempeh, also left, but reports said he had been planning to quit for a month.

The mayor didn’t speak with reporters Monday, aside from saying that he wants to hire more staff.

While the mayor wasn’t speaking to media, he was speaking to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Speaking on CBC political television program Power and Politics, Flaherty, who represents the suburban riding of Whitby-Oshawa just east of Toronto, told host Evan Solomon that he is friends with the Ford family and that he has  had “personal” conversations with Ford since reports of a video that appears to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine first emerged. He wouldn’t say, however, whether he gave any advice to Ford on the matter.

Just in case you were wondering what a day outside the mayor offices looks like, Toronto Star photographer Steve Russell has a great photo essay over here.