The total number of Rob Ford staffers who have left their jobs since crack allegations against the Toronto mayor emerged has increased to five.
Policy adviser Brian Johnston was seen walking down the stairwell at City Hall escorted by security this afternoon.
“I chose to leave on my own terms . . . The timing was right for me,” he told the Toronto Star as he made his way to the parking lot.
Kia Nejatian, the mayor’s executive assistant, left quietly this morning at around 9 a.m., reports the Toronto Sun, which cited sources saying Nejatian had resigned to pursue other opportunities.
In a written statement released Thursday afternoon, Ford thanked Johnston and Nejatian for their service and hard work. He also added that he “looks forward to welcoming new staff members who will help contribute to his priorities and the ongoing work of the Mayor’s Office.”
In a subsequent public statement at 4:30 p.m., Ford said City Hall is functioning normally and that phone calls and emails are being returned. He said he’s been interviewing candidates this week to replace the staff he has lost.
Ford went on to say the resignations won’t deter him from continuing his work and running for office again in January.
“I guarantee my name will be on the ballot. I am running in the next election and the people of this great city will decide if they want to go in a different direction,” he said.
After the press conference, Coun. Doug Ford, Rob Ford’s brother, addressed a statement made by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in which she suggested the Mayor “deal with his personal issues sooner than later.”
“I have one message for the Premier—get your own house in order before you have the nerve to say anything about the Mayor.”
Johnston and Nejatian join George Christopoulos, Ford’s former press secretary, and Isaac Ransom, his former deputy communications officer, who both left earlier this week.
Mark Towhey, the Mayor’s chief of staff, left his position last week. His departure was widely reported as a firing. Towhey said only that he did not resign.