Ottawa city councilors snub Rick Chiarelli at final council meeting

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Ottawa city councilors snubbed the disgraced College Ward council. Rick Chiarelli in his final appearance at City Hall on Wednesday, leaving en masse as Chiarelli began to deliver his farewell speech.

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The move ended council quorum and brought an abrupt end to the meeting, the last for Chiarelli, Mayor Jim Watson and 10 other councilors who did not run for re-election.

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« When Mr. Chiarelli decided to begin the pontification of all his accomplishments, most of the board members got up and left because they had no respect for the gentleman, » Watson told reporters after the meeting. . “Particularly today when the Integrity Commissioner filed another report outlining his outrageous, shameful and disgusting behavior. I don’t blame the council for not wanting to listen to this nonsense.

« We are not going to give Rick Chiarelli free airtime given his past outrageous behavior, » Watson said.

Chiarelli did not attend the council chamber in person, but appeared via video link, surrounded by family members as he spoke. He looked flustered when Watson cut him off, saying quorum had been lost.

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Chiarelli had just said, “I’ve always taken my role as guardian of your tax money seriously…” when Watson stopped him.

“Just keep talking,” someone could be heard urging Chiarelli, but Watson declared the meeting over.

It was a bizarre ending to the last meeting of this council before incoming mayor Mark Sutcliffe and a new council were sworn in. That meant most outgoing advisers, including Eli El-Chantiry, Catherine McKenney and Keith Egli, didn’t get a chance to say goodbye words at the end of their terms.

City Integrity Commissioner Karen Shepherd released a damning report on Friday that said in 2014 that Chiarelli offered to pay an assistant $250 to perform a sex act on a man she met in a Montreal nightclub. The report says Chiarelli later teased the woman about the experience and encouraged her to repeat it.

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The woman was a part-time assistant in her 20s and worked for Chiarelli between 2013 and 2015. She filed her complaints earlier this year, according to the report. She also alleged that the year before the nightclub incident, Chiarelli had given her a “transparent and revealing shirt” which he had asked her to wear at an event of the International Animation Festival of Venice. Ottawa, urging him to change clothes in his car while he was present.

The commissioner recommended that Chiarelli be docked at 90 days’ pay. It is the third time since 2020 that the Integrity Commissioner has issued a report condemning Chiarelli’s behavior towards women who were on his staff or had applied to work for him.

Prior to Friday’s report, Chiarelli had already been suspended from the board and had lost a total of 450 days of pay, worth $132,000. This money was split between the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition and the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women.

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Since Chiarelli’s term ends Nov. 14, Bay Ward Coun. Theresa Kavanagh has introduced a motion to deduct the remainder of Chiarelli’s 90-day fine from the six-month severance package he will receive for leaving the board. This money will also go to OCTEVAW and the Ottawa Native Coalition.

By law, a 90-day salary suspension is the maximum penalty that can be applied for each counselor’s misconduct. Liberal MP Stephen Blais, a former Ottawa city councilor, introduced a bill at Queen’s Park that would allow councilors to be removed from office for serious ethical breaches, but his efforts were scuttled by the June provincial elections.

A previous integrity commissioner reports well-founded complaints from women, including one who said Chiarelli asked her if she would go without a bra, and another who said the adviser asked her if she would consider stripping and if she had participated in “World Orgasm Day”.

Chiarelli rejected calls for his resignation, but chose not to run for re-election this next term. He has served on council since 2000 and was a councilor in the former town of Nepean before that.

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