TORONTO Mayor Rob Ford missed the last half of his own executive committee meeting Monday because of his football coaching duties.
Ford disappeared from the meeting of his inner circle of councillors around 2:30 p.m. the meeting didn't end until just after 8 p.m. The absence finally admitted by Ford's office Tuesday led to Ford's opponents quickly calling him a "part-time mayor."
George Christopoulos, Ford's press secretary, confirmed Tuesday morning that the mayor, who coaches high school football, was with his team at a scrimmage. But Christopoulos stressed it was a "rare occasion" when football coaching trumps the mayor's job.
"It is extremely rare one of his football duties conflict with his mayoral duties," Christopoulos told QMI Agency.
"There were no contentious issues remaining on the executive agenda, he felt comfortable leaving it in the hands of members of the executive."
On Monday, the mayor's staff didn't respond to questions about Ford's absence. Several councillors, including deputy mayor Doug Holyday, said they didn't know where Ford was.
Earlier in the day, Ford suggested to councillors they work through the lunch hour to grind through the agenda but was turned down.
Coun. Adam Vaughan blasted Ford for ditching City Hall for the football field.
"The executive committee is the mayor's committee and he has responsibilities to it," Vaughan said Tuesday. "He's not being paid to coach football. He's not being paid to do anything other than being mayor by taxpayers.
"If he takes that slogan seriously, which is he respects taxpayers, he ought to show up for work."
Ford missed the approval of a request for proposals for an operator to run Casa Loma, a heated debate over a review of the city's anti-discrimination policy, and several items on both the city budget and the police budget.
Vaughan said speakers show up at the executive committee to address the mayor.
"He has a responsibility to be there," he said.
"We all have extracurricular activities...I just think (being at a council meeting) is a fundamental responsibility."
Vaughan argued nobody working in the private sector could "just walk off the job and coach kids football."
"They'd get docked pay, they'd get fired eventually."
He said it's clear Ford is a "part-time mayor."
"And it shows, it showed in the courtroom (during last week's conflict of interest hearing), it showed in the committee room and eventually it is going to show up at the ballot box," he said. "People don't like part-time politicians who claim to be watching their back when he is not watching anything other than kids playing football."