Toronto Community Housing’s Latest CEO Firing Raises Questions

Toronto Community Housing CEO
Photo by Lukas from Pexels
Toronto Community Housing CEO
Photo by Lukas from Pexels

Being the CEO of Canada’s largest housing provider comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility. But, in less than 20 years, Toronto Community Housing (TCH) has had five different leading executives three of whom were let go due to either irresponsible spending or improper protocol in regards to contracts, City News reports.

Kathy Milsom is the latest CEO to be fired. The announcement was made on Thursday following the investigation of a contract with Orchango, a Toronto-based management consulting company.

Her improper conduct “included overseeing (a request for proposals) process that did not comply with the procedures and protocols expected of a public procurement process and failing to fully cooperate with the investigation that has led to this independent report,” TCH’s board of directors said in a statement.

Milsom started her role as CEO in September 2017. She held the position for less than 18 months.

READ: The Four Catch 22’s Of Housing Insecurity For Low Income Torontonians

The public is now questioning why the corporation’s CEO turnover rate is so high, and whether or not a corrupt work environment is to blame.

TCH’s Rocky CEO History

Derek Ballantyne was TCH’s first and longest running CEO, from 2002 to 2009. Ballantyne had a “fairly uneventful tenure,” according to City News. After he left the position, for Build Toronto, his misconduct as CEO came to light. Auditor’s reports revealed improper spending, and Ballantyne was let go as Build Toronto’s chief operating officer in 2011 as a result.

Keiko Nakamura, who replaced Ballantyne at TCH, was also forced out of her role as CEO as a result of the audits. Not only did the reports show excessive spending, but also poor practices regarding procurement and contracts. Nakamura stepped down from the position in 2011.

READ: Poor Little Rich City: How Much Longer Can Toronto Afford Austerity?

The following year, Gene Jones became CEO, but the TCH board of directors removed him in 2014, offering him a severance package. His removal came after allegations of improper conduct after a report filed by then-city ombudsman Fiona Crean said the TCH had an “abject failure of leadership.”

Following Jones departure, Greg Spearn was announced as interim CEO. Spearn took over until 2017. He reportedly stepped down in order to pursue other professional opportunities.

Kevin Marshman, chair of TCH’s board of directors, then became interim CEO for a brief few months until Milsom was hired in September 2017.

Moving Forward

Milsom released a statement on Thursday in response to the TCH board’s decision to let her go.

“I can say with emphatic and unequivocal certainty that at all times I acted in the best interest of the organization, its tenants, its employees, and its stakeholders,” she said. “I look forward to being vindicated of these allegations in due course.”

Vice-president Sheila Penny will be the acting CEO of TCH until April 3. At that time, Kevin Marshman will take over the role permanently.

“I have met with … Kevin Marshman and I know he is just as determined as I am to ensure the progress we have made at (TCH) continues and wherever possible is accelerated,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement. “I firmly believe that everyone involved in the good governance of city agencies must be held to the absolute highest standards.”

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