Speaking to reporters late Wednesday afternoon, Ford maintained the appointment process was independent and that he wasn’t involved in it.
“From the beginning this complaint was baseless and totally political, and without merit. As the integrity commissioner added, the complaints coming from the NDP and the Liberals, based on media reports, were found to be speculative and unsupportive.”
In a statement earlier Wednesday, Ford said the report clears him and his government.
“I would like to say this represents a complete vindication for our government,” Ford said on Wednesday.
I would also like to say that, but unfortunately I read further down than the headline. What it actually says is congratulations on being just smart enough not to get your own hands dirty, Dougles.
“I found that the Premier stayed at arm’s length from the recruitment process and that he believed it to be independent,” J. David Wake said in the report released on Wednesday.
But the report on the Taverner’s selection does not fully exonerate the government. Wake said the appointment process itself was flawed and said there were “some troubling aspects of the recruitment process” — most notably communication between the then-secretary of the cabinet Steve Orsini and Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff.
“What I found most disconcerting in all the evidence were the text messages from the Secretary to Mr. French as Mr. Taverner’s progress throughout the process. There seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement by the Secretary that Mr. French was rooting for Mr. Taverner’s success,” the commissioner said.
“Anyone examining these messages would have serious doubts as to the fairness of the process to the other candidates.”