Council imposes new restrictions on Rick Chiarelli; councillor may still enter city buildings
In an exclusive interview with CTV News, embattled Coun. Rick Chiarelli says he believes he will be vindicated of the allegations against him.
OTTAWA -- Coun. Rick Chiarelli will still be allowed into Ottawa City Hall and other municipal buildings, but new restrictions imposed on the elected official include sitting away from his Council colleagues during meetings and no say on office spending.
Council approved a series of restrictions on Chiarelli on how he carries out his duties for the final two years of this term of council. City Clerk Rick O'Connor tabled a report outlining restrictions on Chiarelli following the integrity commissioner's report that determined the College Ward Councillor breached sections of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council.
Following up on the recommendation from the integrity commissioner, Council delegated all human resources matters and budgetary approvals in the ward office to the City Clerk.
"This authority would include all matters relating to the hiring, discipline and termination of staff, and addressing other human resources-related matters, including salary progression, vacation leave and overtime," said the report for Council.
The report from the City Clerk's office notes Chiarelli's corporate credit card was suspended two weeks ago when Council accepted the recommendations from the integrity commissioner's office.
Chiarelli will still have a say on spending for traffic calming measures and cash-in-lieu of parkland funds. The report notes those were not subject to the integrity commissioner's recommendation with respect to suspension and delegation of authorities.
While Council asked the city to look at imposing restrictions on Chiarelli's access to city staff in municipal buildings, staff said, there are "no effective means of imposing further restrictions" on access to the buildings.
Staff noted most city facilities are open to the general public and are not controlled-access buildings.
However, when in-person council and committee meetings resume during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chiarelli will not sit next to his colleagues.
"The City Clerk will ensure that the member’s seating location would not be physically near other members of Council but would provide for the Ward 8 Councillor to participate fully in Council meetings," said the report.
Chiarelli will have to notify the clerk's office ahead of time that he is planning to attend an in-person meeting.
Staff in the College Ward Office can ask the City Clerk in writing if they wish to have another member of the office present during any meeting with Chiarelli, and can request all communications be through the corporate email system.
On Nov. 25, Council suspended Chairelli's pay for 180 days following the integrity commissioner's report outlining allegations of harassment and inappropriate behaviour by the veteran councillor towards two former staff members.
On July 15, Council voted to suspend Chiarelli's pay for 270 days following the integrity commissioner's investigation into inappropriate contact towards three women applying for jobs in his office.
Chiarelli has denied the allegations.