'We deserve a safe workplace:' Silent protest amid Councillor Rick Chiarelli's surprise appearance at city hall
OTTAWA — Some city staffers protested silently outside council chambers on Wednesday as Councillor Rick Chiarelli made his first appearance in three months amid sexual harassment allegations by former staff members.
Chiarelli showed up to Wednesday’s city council meeting with family members by his side.
The College Ward councillor provided a written statement upon his arrival saying he “has never missed a budget meeting and has been active in trying to ensure that important core services are maintained and improved.”
The letter says the councillor does not intend to answer further questions regarding his request for medical leave. The statement also says he has issued a statement about the allegations against him, but he will respond to them in the “proper forum” and needs to maintain confidentiality until then.
On October 23rd, council unanimously denied Chiarelli’s request for a leave of absence . At that time, Chiarelli had provided council with a doctor’s note saying he had recently suffered a “syncopal attack” and continued to experience high stress levels.
By denying his request, it meant Chiarelli would need to return to work by the end of November or face losing his seat on council.
Allegations of inappropriate and sexual comments were launched against the long time Councillor by several former staff members in September.
At least one complaint was formally filed with Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner.
Chiarelli is one of the longest standing members of Ottawa City Council.
He has served constituents in Nepean for more than 30 years.
I support city staff who are protesting the return of Councillor Chiarelli. They want a safe and secure workplace. pic.twitter.com/qJlITjITKb— Shawn Menard (@ShawnMenard1) November 6, 2019