Posts Tagged ‘Gary Webster

Andy Byford says hello to TTC employees

- February 22nd, 2012

Andy Byford

TTC Deputy Chief GM Andy Byford speaks to Gary Webster at Tuesday’s TTC meeting (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

Andy Byford, the man tapped by the TTC commission Tuesday to take on Gary Webster’s duties, sent out a notice to TTC employees Wednesday.

Here is Byford’s full statement:

NOTICE TO ALL TTC EMPLOYEES

Dear TTC Colleagues,

As you are aware, the Commission voted to terminate the services of Gary Webster yesterday with immediate effect.  I would like to place on record my respect for Gary’s outstanding 37 year career at the TTC and my gratitude to him for giving me the opportunity to join this great company.

I have been asked to cover the responsibilities of Chief General Manager until further notice, while a search is undertaken to appoint a permanent CGM.  As I said publicly yesterday, my immediate focus is on the delivery of the day to day service to the 1.6 million riders that depend on the TTC every day.  As such, our priorities remain focused on safety, performance and customer service.

In my time at the TTC so far, I have spent a lot of time on the system, meeting staff and understanding the challenges that you face.  I continue to be incredibly impressed by the professionalism, dedication and passion of TTC staff at all levels and to me, you are our greatest asset.

I really believe that the future is bright for the TTC with new streetcars and trains, ticketing systems and subway extensions coming on stream.  If we continue to drive up performance and staff morale, customer satisfaction and our reputation will improve and we will get the TTC back to where it belongs as a leader in world transit systems.

I am honoured to be asked to lead the TTC if only temporarily and I look forward to working with everyone as one team to take the TTC forward.

Best wishes,

Andy Byford
COO/Deputy Chief General Manager

Keep up the good work – and thank you: Gary Webster to TTC employees

- February 22nd, 2012

Gary Webster

Gary Webster at the TTC meeting before he was turfed by commissioners on Tuesday (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

Here is Gary Webster’s goodbye letter to TTC employees:

 

NOTICE TO ALL TTC EMPLOYEES

 

Keep up the good work – and thank you

 

As many of you will now know, the Commission has decided to replace me as the TTC’s Chief General Manager.

 

I am proud to have been part of the TTC for almost 37 years, most recently as its CGM. Each day you and your colleagues provide excellent, safe and courteous service to our 1.6 million daily customers. People are passionate about public transit in Toronto; that healthy passion will continue as the TTC improves and expands. Toronto is blessed with an excellent transit system and I thank you for your hard work.

 

There are times when situations arise that are outside of our control. But the one thing we always have control over is how we respond to those situations. I ask that you respond to all of this by doing what you all do so well – by continuing your professionalism and delivering the safe, courteous service that our customers expect and deserve.

 

The Commission has asked Andy Byford to continue in his role as Chief Operating Officer, which includes the role of deputy CGM, while a search for a permanent Chief General Manager is undertaken. Please show Andy the same support you have shown me as he continues his excellent work around strengthening the TTC.

 

Thank you again for all of your support and the kind words so many of you have shared with me.

 

Gary Webster

Who is Andy Byford?

- February 21st, 2012

Toronto Sun---From Remote-- (5- _ 005_TorLevy18 _ Toronto Sun columnist Sue Ann Levy is talking

Expect to see a lot of “I (heart) Gary Webster” buttons at the TTC meeting today where commissioners will likely vote to axe the current chief general manager (Toronto Sun file photo)

I know what you’re thinking … who is Andy Byford and where can you buy the “I (heart) Andy Byford” button?

As the Sun reported Tuesday (story here), a majority of TTC commissioners not including TTC chair Karen Stintz will move this afternoon to axe chief general manager Gary Webster and appoint Byford as his interim replacement.

So who is Andy Byford?

The man likely to be named as Webster’s replacement climbed on board the Red Rocket late last fall. Right now, he’s the deputy chief general manager and chief operating officer of the TTC’s operations branch.

Byford was appointed as chief operating officer on September 7 and started with the TTC in November.

Andy Byford

This is Andy Byford (photo from TTC website)

Before the TTC, Byford worked in Sydney, Australia, as chief operating officer for Rail Corporation New South Wales. He’s also worked in the U.K. as a general manager at the London Underground.

In an article in the Coupler (the TTC’s internal newsletter) last fall, Byford’s appointment was heralded by Webster.

“We are very pleased that Andy will be joining us here in Toronto,” Webster was quoted as saying at the time. “His breadth of international experience in both Sydney and the U.K. will allow us to continue to make gains in safety, customer service and the quality of service we provide to our customers on a daily basis.”

“As we prepare for a challenging year with both our Operating and Capital Budgets, Andy will be a valuable asset in assisting us in meeting our budget targets and expectations for improved service.”

City council to Gary Webster: We’re listening … sometimes

- February 20th, 2012

TTC chief general manager Gary Webster

TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster (Toronto Sun file photo)

Toronto city councillors bemoaning the possible firing of TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster may want to check their voting record.

While many are outraged at the possible dismissal of a professional civil servant for the presumed reason of challenging Mayor Rob Ford’s transit plan, around 28 councillors weren’t concerned about Webster’s coveted advice back in 2010.

Fresh from the 2010 municipal election, a majority of councillors voted to ask the province to declare the TTC an essential service. Those votes were cast against Webster’s warning that the TTC shouldn’t be deemed an essential service. Webster even appeared at the council meeting to voice his objection to the designation.

After Webster’s sage advice was delivered, a majority of councillors promptly voted against his advice.

This isn’t to argue City Hall is better off, as some have described it, valuing “toadyism” over professionalism.

But when it comes to the civil service it does show city councillors, even when handed “professional advice” from a veteran transit expert, don’t always listen.

—————————–

Here’s how city councillors voted on December 16, 2010 on a motion to ask the province to designate the TTC an essential service:

Yes (28 councillors)

Paul Ainslie, Michelle Berardinetti, Raymond Cho, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, John Filion, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Norman Kelly, Chin Lee, Gloria Lindsay Luby, Giorgio Mammoliti, Josh Matlow, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, John Parker, James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson

No (17 councillors)

Maria Augimeri, Ana Bailão, Shelley Carroll, Josh Colle, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Pam McConnell, Joe Mihevc, Ron Moeser, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam

Who is steering the Toronto Transit Commission?

- February 20th, 2012

TTC chair Karen Stintz

TTC chair Councillor Karen Stintz at city council earlier this month (Toronto Sun file photo)

What’s in a name? Not much at the moment if your name is “TTC chairman”.

If a majority of TTC commissioners vote to oust TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster Tuesday it will be at the objection of TTC chair Karen Stintz.

Stintz told me Monday she sees “no cause” for severing Webster’s contract two years early.

But the majority of councilors on the commission who called for Tuesday’s special meeting clearly disagree.

The vote will mark the second time in as many meetings that Stintz has lost control of the commission on a key vote.

Commissioners blindsided Stintz back in January by voting to bury a TTC staff report on whether the city should push ahead with Mayor Rob Ford’s plan to bury the Eglinton LRT across the entire city.

Make no mistake, both votes are confidence votes.

If Stintz were prime minister, these confidence votes would cost her the job.

(Yes, the same argument could be made for Ford losing key votes at council and is often made by left-leaning councillors.)

After losing that first TTC vote, Stintz led a majority of councillors in defeating Ford’s transit plan at a special council meeting.

In the wake of that humiliating transit vote speculation was rife Ford would fire Stintz.

He told the Sun’s Joe Warmington that Stintz stabbed him in the back. As the Sun revealed in this story, Ford can’t oust Stintz due to a rule change his administration supported.

Given all this political back and forth, it should surprise no one that commissioners loyal to Ford will pull the trigger on Webster Tuesday. His contract, unlike Stintz’s stint as TTC chair, can be terminated by the commission.

Stintz was unaware the meeting was happening until the five commissioners called the meeting (not a good sign for someone who is supposed to be TTC chair).

If Stintz votes against it and unsuccessfully urges commissioners to vote against it, she’ll once again show she has lost the confidence of a majority of TTC commissioners.

So here we sit Toronto.

We have a TTC chair who can’t seem to win a vote at her own commission and a mayor who so far this year can’t seem to win those key votes at city council that would show he’s large and in charge (see transit vote and the budget vote to reverse $19 million in cuts).

Stintz downplayed this awkward situation Monday.

Ford’s (one-time) handpicked TTC chair stuck to her guns repeating that she won’t resign and that any disagreement within the commission is on an “issue by issue” basis.

“I’m committed to continuing in the role, I’m committed to serving the riders, I believe that we can figure this out,” she said.

“We all have the same goal in mind which is to improve transit and improve customer service and get the shovels in the ground.”

Both sides are definitely digging but I don’t think these trenches have anything to do with transit construction.