Ottawa’s mayor backed out of a photo op Friday afternoon after the city clerk and solicitor received a written complaint questioning whether the event was against election blackout rules.

Watson talked about electric buses in interviews with media on Thursday and said an electric bus pilot project was part of his re-election plan.

Hours later, a city news release came out that said the mayor would be part of an electric bus demonstration event Friday afternoon.

City clerk and solicitor Rick O’Connor says he received a written complaint and determined changes to the event and related communications were required so the event would be compliant.

The rules, outlined in the Election-Related Resources Policy, indicate that incumbent mayors and councillors cannot use taxpayer money to help their campaigns.

O’Connor’s directions included “no formal photo opportunity by the City, no formal media scrum by elected officials, as well as a revised media notice that reflected those changes.”

A revised news release was sent out by the city half an hour before the event was due to start to say that OC Transpo would be holding the demonstration.

“Mayor Watson wanted to avoid any perceived conflict with respect to the electric bus event. He intends on dropping by the OC Transpo garage to see the bus at some point next week,” said spokesperson Mathieu Gravel.