Mayor’s aide resigns after posing as resident in support of snow fee
One of Mayor Larry O’Brien’s few remaining original staffers resigned yesterday after he was exposed for using a fake name to call a radio talk show in support of his boss’s controversial $50 snow removal levy.
Dave Gibbons, O’Brien’s executive assistant, left his post yesterday afternoon, hours after posing as a resident named "Tom" and calling into CFRA’s "The Chatroom" show to defend the levy proposal.
Mayor Larry O’Brien said late yesterday afternoon he’d accepted Gibbons’s resignation with "deep regret" and refused any further comment. But earlier in the day, the mayor told reporters that he was angry to learn about the incident when he arrived at city hall in the morning.
"Just as I was walking in I heard one of my staffers falling on his sword," O’Brien said, before Gibbons resigned. "I think it is absolutely unacceptable that happens."
During his defence of O’Brien, Gibbons appeared to shift some blame for Ottawa’s snow budget woes onto other city staff, at one point telling host Mark Sutcliffe the mayor likely took the advice of bureaucrats about what kind of snowfall Ottawa could expect and then based their budget proposal on that.
Most callers were hotly opposed to the plan to make up a projected $23-million shortfall in the winter maintenance budget through a $50 levy on the property tax bill.
O’Brien was standing firm on the proposal yesterday, however.
"One way or another we are going to have to pay for this $23-million cost overrun," he said. "Fifty dollars is real money — it is coming out of people’s pockets. On the other hand, you either pay it now or you pay it later. This is about doing what’s best for the city of Ottawa."