It’s not us, it’s them.
That’s the Hockey Hall of Fame’s response to word the City of Toronto appointed controversial ex-mayor Rob Ford (open Rob Ford's policard)to the board of directors of the not-for-profit museum.
“We have no say in the selection in the people to the board,” said ex-Maple Leafs general manager Jim Gregory, chairman of the hall’s player selection committee. “The people who they sent in before have done a good job and we expect the people they’re sending in now will.”
While the appointment was made in December, news has only sunk in. No one within the NHL would speak on record, but one league official told the Star the city’s decision was “surprising” given Ford’s history.
Ford, now a city councillor, is a lightning-rod of controversy for allegedly using drugs and alcohol in office. He is also battling cancer, the reason he withdrew from the mayoralty race.
The city of Toronto nominates three representatives to the hall’s 18-member board of directors (the NHL, by comparison, nominates seven). It’s an acknowledgement, dating back to 1961 when the hall opened at Exhibition Place, of the partnership the city’s had in being home to the hockey museum, said Jeff Denomme, president and chief executive of the Hhall.
Ford can stay involved with the hall for as long as he wants to stay and as long as the city of Toronto wants him there. The Hall of Fame, governed by federal statues overseeing not-for-profits, lacks the power to remove a director.
“There is no provision in the bylaw for the removal of a director,” said Denomme.
The only way to remove Ford, or any other director, from office is for the director to resign or for the member body that nominated him to remove him.
Councillors Mark Grimes (open Mark Grimes's policard) and Stephen Holyday (open Stephen Holyday's policard) were also elected to the board by the city. The three have already attended one hall meeting, the annual meeting March 25. Ford’s next hall meeting is the budget meeting in June, and there’s another meeting in November.
“As a staff member, I’m not sure commenting on any board of director is a good idea,” said Denomme. “I can say though, that throughout the years, the members of council who have participated on our board have been extremely helpful with new developments and projects.
“Clearly the support of the city of Toronto has been there. I would expect the same out of councillor Ford. It’s too early to tell where that would take us. I’m not sure there are any major issues in front of us that will involve the city.”
The board does not choose Hall of Fame nominees. That duty is done by a separate 18-member selection committee made of largely up journalists and hall of famers who vote independently.
The board does oversee who is on the selection committee, nor does it get involved in other manners of business, like finance and advertising.