Mayor Rob Ford has lost the last member of his original team at City Hall.
Tom Beyer, the mayor's longtime receptionist and social media manager, voluntarily concluded his employment Friday, deciding that it was time to move on.
None of the remaining staff in the Mayor's Office have been there longer than a year, and only one was hired prior to the first reports of a video of Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine. (Xhejsi "J.C." Hasko, according to the Star, began his employment on Monday, May 13, 2013; Gawker and the Star both broke news of the video on the Thursday evening of that week.)
Beyer, widely regarded as the most affable person in the Office of the Mayor, held the title of special assisant, other than a brief period in mid-2013 when he served as executive assistant to the mayor, following the abrupt departure of the job's previous holder. Beyer frequently staffed the front desk in the reception area, greeting visitors and answering phones, and was also the primary manager of the @TOMayorFord Twitter account and Facebook page.
"I was the very first guy hired on the campaign, and I'm the very last guy who's shuttin' the door," he says in an interview. Beyer, who says he first met Ford through friends in 2003, handled social media for Ford's 2010 run for mayor. (In the Information to Obtain a warrant for Sandro Lisi, former Ford staffer and longtime family friend David Price told police he was the one who first introduced Ford and Beyer.)
Beyer says he was listening to the CBC in January 2010 when he heard that John Tory would not be running for mayor that year; he called Ford that afternoon.
"I said, 'Rob, you gotta run. Now's your time,' [that] kind of thing," Beyer says. "And he called me back, and he said, 'Jeez, it sounds like a pretty good idea.'"
Beyer says that although Ford had raised the idea of running for mayor a number of times over the years (and his family had apparently considered it), Ford "hemmed and hawed" in early 2010.
"Honestly, I don't think it struck him, he just assumed Tory was gonna run. He was gonna back Tory back then, and then so with Tory jumping out, it was a perfect opportunity for Rob to jump in. 'Now's your chance, buddy.'"
Beyer says the mayor often tells him, "Tom, you got me into this!"
Now, four years later, the high-stress job has taken its toll. "It's a personal matter more than anything else - doctor's orders, really," Beyer says. "I'm leaving on good terms and everything, but I'm just gonna pursue new opportunities."
"I need a new gig," he says.
Police documented many interactions between Beyer and former Ford driver Sandro Lisi, including "approximately 36 points of telephone contact" from August 7 through September 19 of last year. On Friday, they obtained another warrant as part of their investigation into the mayor and his associates, which is now being overseen by the OPP. The Star reports that it may allow police to access secret recordings of the mayor taken by Lisi.
Beyer will continue to play keyboards for the Clamshell Quintet, the City Hall band consisting of several councillors, staff, and democratic-reform activist David Meslin. Currently, however, they are on hiatus until after the election.