I guess Mayor Rob Ford was in need of a good news story. But this is kind of a weird one.
After an article yesterday noted that the current mayor’s attendance record for votes at Toronto City Council compared positively with that of his predecessor, Ford was quick to accept the accolades. Sure, the mayor might find himself embroiled in increasingly weirder scandals each month and has run into a brick wall when it comes to achieving his policy goals, but—gosh darn it!—he’s good at showing up and pressing those “yes” and, more often, “no” buttons at City Hall.
Or maybe not.
Sure, at a glance, Ford’s record is pretty good, especially considering the flack he gets for occasionally skipping out of meetings to coach football. But a closer look at the data behind the numbers puts the mayor on shakier ground if he’s hoping to earn a merit badge for attendance.
Here’s a visual snapshot, charting the percentage of votes for which Ford was recorded as “absent” at each meeting of council so far this term.
The immediate takeaway: Ford’s attendance record for votes was really good for most of his first year in office. But the trend-line since then doesn’t look great. Somewhere in the midst of losing control of his first real budget and the transit votes that cost him his subways, the mayor started missing a heck of a lot of votes.
Ford missed an average of seven per cent of votes per meeting in 2011. In 2012, so far, he’s missed an average of 22 per cent per meeting.
If he really wants an attendance record to be proud of, Ford’s heading in the wrong direction.