Three days ago, news of a nepotism hiring scandal at Toronto City Hall broke. The first real details were on the front of yesterday's Globe and Mail. Today the story is expanding, with a Globe and Mail review, a Toronto Star article that covers the other side of the story, and a column by Royson James that connects the scandal to Mayor David Miller.
The two accused are Pam Coburn -- who has worked at City Hall since she was 18 and was appointed by David Miller to his Clean-and-Beautiful campaign -- and Joseph Carnevale, the 33-year-old former chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. (Bloggers may remember Carnevale for allegations of a nasty phone call from Warren Kinsella during the 2003 provincial election. Kinsella denied these allegations on his blog.)
These two are accused of corrupt behaviour, the kind we want to eliminate entirely from City Hall. So, this case will be a test of how good a job is being done of sweeping out the corrupt. But it will also be a test of the system's ability to investigate.
In the past, we have had serious problems with the unwillingness of the police to really get involved in municipal corruption. Through all the scandals in the Lastman years, the police would either refuse to investigate, or come up with no evidence. If it wasn't for the persistence of some City Councillors and then the Bellamy Inquiry, we still wouldn't know much about corruption in Toronto. All we would have is the feeling that some things aren't adding up.
Hopefully the police, if called, will take municipal corruption seriously this time. If there has been criminal wrongdoing, I'm hoping for jail time.