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Updated: Wed, 06 Nov 2013 12:59:46 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Rob Ford loses staffer following crack use admission



Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is seen leaving city hall on Tuesday, after a day in which he admitted to having smoked crack cocaine. Chris Young/Canadian Press

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is seen leaving city hall on Tuesday, after a day in which he admitted to having smoked crack cocaine. Chris Young/Canadian Press

A long-time staff member has left Mayor Rob Ford’s office, the day after the city’s chief magistrate publicly admitted to having smoked crack cocaine.

The CBC’s Jamie Strashin reported Wednesday that Brooks Barnett had left the mayor’s office.

Barnett had worked as a policy adviser to the mayor.

Ford saw a series of staff members depart his office earlier this year, after reports emerged that he had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine.

The mayor long denied the video’s existence and smoking crack cocaine.

That changed on Tuesday, when Ford told reporters that he had smoked crack cocaine.

"Yes I have smoked crack cocaine," Ford said, suggesting that he had not misled the media in previous denials as they had not asked him "the correct questions."

A few hours later, Ford spoke again to reporters telling them about the "embarrassment" of admitting his drug use.

But Ford said he had a job to do and he intended to carry on as mayor.

He also said he has "nothing left to hide."

Just two days before his crack-use admission, Ford apologized for "mistakes," which he said included getting "hammered" at the Taste of the Danforth street festival and to letting things get out of control on St. Patrick's Day last year.

Ford is only three years into his four-year term as mayor. On Tuesday, he said it will be up to voters to decide if he will hang onto his job in the next election.

The mayor recently predicted that the coming election campaign will be "a bloodbath."

Until then, there are questions about how Ford will be able to lead a council that has many members calling for him to take a leave of absence or potentially step down.

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong has prepared a motion that calls on the mayor to take a leave of absence.

Telling reporters that Ford’s about-face on his personal crack use was "unacceptable," Minnan-Wong is calling on his fellow councillors to make a clear statement to the mayor.

"This council needs to act and make a very clear statement that this action is unacceptable and we believe that it is time for the mayor to step away from city hall for a time," Minnan-Wong said.

Coun. John Parker said that Minnan-Wong’s motion won’t “resolve the situation” involving the mayor.

Parker said that life at city hall moves forward, despite ongoing distractions involving the mayor.

"The work of the city hall goes on, the work of council goes on, the work of committees goes on, the work of city staff goes on," Parker told reporters Wednesday.

Coun. James Pasternak said he hoped that it will be possible to for the mayor to make a "dignified exit" in the days ahead, for which he is calling on the deputy mayor to help make happen.

"That’s what many councillors are talking about behind closed doors," he said.

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