One of Mayor Rob Ford’s policy advisers has resigned.
Brooks Barnett quit on Wednesday morning, the day after Ford admitted that he had smoked crack cocaine while in office. Barnett was one of only four people in the 18-person office remaining from the beginning of Ford’s term three years ago, and he had worked on Ford’s 2010 campaign team as voting day approached.
Ford did not tell his staff that he would be making the bombshell announcement on Tuesday. Barnett was seen pacing alone in a hallway later in the day.
Barnett handled constituent matters for much of the term. He was given more responsibility at city hall this year, acting as the mayor’s liaison to the TTC, among other duties. His title upon his departure was listed as “policy adviser and council relations.”
Barnett was one of the aides who tried to corral Ford at city hall on St. Patrick’s Day of 2012, when Ford acknowledges he got “out of control.” When the intoxicated mayor decided to start making telephone calls, his young aides decided to unplug the telephone; Ford, enraged, shoved Barnett with enough force to send him flying backward.
J.P. Boutros, an adviser to councillor and mayoral candidate Karen Stintz, called Barnett a “consummate professional.”
“He is an asset they will truly miss,” Boutros said. “There are people in the mayor’s office who really kept the functioning of government, and liaising between councillors, effective, and he was definitely one of them.”
The mayor’s personnel roster had been stable since it suffered through an exodus of six aides — including Ford’s chief of staff, executive assistant, and spokesman — in the two weeks after the crack scandal erupted in May.