Council denies Chiarelli's leave of absence request
Ottawa city council has denied Coun. Rick Chiarelli's request for a leave of absence.
In a unanimous vote Wednesday, councillors decided against granting Chiarelli his request to be off until at least Dec. 1. The vote was 20-0, with four councillors absent: Chiarelli, Diane Deans (Gloucester Southgate) Allan Hubley (Kanata South) and Jenna Sudds (Kanata North).
Chiarelli provided council with an updated doctor's note explaining the reason for his request. The note said Chiarelli suffered a "syncopal attack" and was taken to hospital by ambulance on Oct. 12. A syncopal attack is also known as fainting.
The note says Chiarelli’s stress levels continue to be high, with effects on his blood sugar and blood pressure levels. The note also said Chiarelli gave signed consent to share the information.
Several women have come forward to accuse Chiarelli of inappropriate or lewd comments in the workplace. Chiarelli has vehemently denied the allegations, claiming in a lengthy statement earlier this month they were politically-motivated.
City Solicitor David White urged councillors that the only thing being debated was the request for medical leave, and the allegations of sexual harassment Chiarelli is facing would not be relevant to the matter on which they were voting.
Wednesday's vote means Chiarelli must return to work by the end of November or face losing his seat on council. If a council member misses three months of meetings, their seat is declared vacant.
Councillors Scott Moffatt (Rideau-Goulbourn) and Hubley are looking after affairs in College Ward during Chiarelli’s absence.