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Mayor Ford appoints policy director as new chief of staff

File photo of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaking with reporters, May 25, 2012

TORONTO, Ont. – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford announced the appointment of his new chief of staff, Wednesday, in preparation for the fall session of city council.

Mark Towhey, 48, who was Ford’s director of policy and strategic planning, will take on the new role effective Aug. 20, 2012.

He has been the policy director since Dec. 1, 2010.

“Mark has been a key leader on my team since the very beginning of my campaign in 2010,” Ford said. “He is a trusted advisor and well-respected in my office. He knows my objectives better than anyone and will help ensure we achieve them over the next two years.”

“I’m looking forward to taking on this new role,” Towhey said. “The Mayor has an impressive list of accomplishments from his first 21 months in office. However, there is still a great deal to be done over the next two years. I look forward to working closely with Mayor Ford, his executive committee and City Council to help them get that work done.”

Ford also thanked acting chief of staff, Earl Provost, who will continue to serve as director of stakeholder and council relations.

The Globe and Mail reported Towhey was the one who tried to stickhandle the mayor’s transit plan through council, earning him a reputation among councillors as “uncompromising.”

Others, like Nick Kouvalis, who ran the Ford campaign, has called him the “smartest guy on the team.”

However, the mayor needs more control of council when it convenes this fall to consider a number of important issues, including whether to welcome a casino and how to fund public transit.

Towhey told the Globe that he has the ear and the trust of the mayor in a way that others have not  been able to cultivate.

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