The Mayor of Toronto is head-deep in a crisis for smoking crack cocaine and lying about it. Ouff! Talk about a situation that no public figure would ever want to find themselves in!
Mayor Rob Ford’s crack cocaine crisis
In May 2013, reports of video footage of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine surfaced. The Mayor spent months strongly denying any such allegations.
This week, the Toronto police reported that they had uncovered this footage from a computer. On November 5th Mayor Ford called the press and admitted to having tried crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor”.
Even with this admittance of guilt, Mayor Ford is refusing to step down as mayor. With his refusal to put the Toronto people first, and with excuses coming out of his mouth such as:
“So, I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions”
There’s no denying that Mayor Rob Ford has made himself Toronto’s town joke.
Moving forward and managing this crisis
There’s no use in calling out his past mistakes of attempting to cover up the story and blatantly lying about the situation (whether the “right” questions were asked or not). Obviously, he should have handled the situation differently since back in May.
What he should be doing now is apologizing profusely (which I think he’s doing a decent job at) and stepping down from his post as mayor. Choosing to stay on as mayor is a selfish move at this point. He’s not thinking about anybody but his own short-term desires. Instead, he needs to make this situation about the Toronto people – his people.
He needs to admit to having a substance abuse problem and declare that he will be resigning as mayor in order to resolve this issue for himself, his family and the Toronto people. Then, he needs to follow this up with a promise to work hard at getting better so that he can come back a stronger, better person in order to continue to fight for his city and his people. Mayor Ford has done some great things during his time as mayor and this is what needs to be the focus. A positive mission of getting better so that he can continue to fight and do good things for his community.
This would not be a selfish act. It would be about making the situation bigger than himself. He is (or at least he was) a well-liked mayor, perceived as the “guy next door”. Taking this approach and truly focusing on getting better and coming back stronger than ever would give him the opportunity to be seen as a role model for his community, somebody worth re-electing.
Unfortunately, many people think short-term while managing a crisis, when in reality, the goal always needs to be long-term management. This is a strategy that would benefit Mayor Ford for the long-term, rather than satisfying his egotistical desires in the short-term.
Discussing Rob Ford, on-air, with Tommy Schnurmacher
My local radio station, CJAD, called me yesterday morning asking if I could discuss Mayor’s Ford’s current crisis on-air with Tommy Schnurmacher. Tommy and I discussed what Mayor Ford did wrong and what he should choose to do moving forward. I’ve included the audio file below, if you’d like to have a listen.
Download .mp3 here: Click here to download .mp3
Image credit: Chris Young/Canadian Press
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.