Mayor Rod Ford presented several ideas — including a plan to cut library security guards — designed to save money during the Jan. 30 city budget debate. The security guard plan was defeated by council.

Library security guards expensive, unnecessary, mayor says

Value of guards debated during city budget battle

The 2010 shooting death of a father by his son using a crossbow at Main Street library was raised Thursday during the Toronto budget debate at City Hall.

Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon referenced the murder of Si Cheng — for which Zhou Chang was convicted in 2012 — in response to an unsuccessful money-saving proposal by Mayor Rob Ford to cut security guards at libraries.

The guards, Ford said, represent a “million-and-a-half dollars of wasted money.”

“I don’t think we are going to have two six year olds battling it out for a dinosaur book in which a security guard is going to have to come and break it up,” the mayor said at the Jan. 30 council meeting.

Besides, Ford added, the security guards he speaks with when he takes his children to the library tell him they are “bored out of their minds.”

“Wouldn’t you feel better [knowing] that there is security there like in the tragic incident at Main Street library?”

—Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon

“When Stephanie and Dougie are returning their library books,” McMahon said, “wouldn’t you feel better [knowing] that there is security there like in the tragic incident at Main Street library?”

Councillor Adam Vaughan agreed with McMahon, saying parents feel better about their children going to libraries knowing security guards are present.

Ford’s proposal to cut library security guards was one of several put forward by the mayor.

Of those cost-cutting motions, two were approved. The first was the elimination of the City’s Employee Engagement survey. The second was ending the printing of Our Toronto and City Insider magazines. The combined savings from both cuts total $726,000.