May 15, 2018 3:47 pm
Updated: May 15, 2018 7:22 pm

Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension mayor to work from home in light of harassment allegations

Giuliana Fumagalli, mayor of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough, is not suspended from her duties.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
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The mayor of Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension will be working from home until further notice amid allegations of harassment.

“We take these allegations very seriously,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

Giuliana Fumagalli is not suspended from her duties, but Plante confirmed she asked the borough mayor to work from home.

Action was immediately taken upon learning about the allegations on May 10, said Plante.

She did not give more details about the nature of the alleged harassment.

Plante also did not confirm if the person who made the allegations is part of Fumagalli’s administration.

Mediation process underway

The two parties have decided to undertake a mediation process, said Plante.

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She described it as a step in the right direction, but said it’s not clear how long the process will take.

“The thing that I want the most is working relations that are respectful and done properly,” said Plante.

While Fumagalli will be working from home when it comes to day-to-day tasks, she will still participate in borough council meetings.

“She’s in direct contact with the rest of the cabinet,” said Plante. “It’s a close team.”

Fumagalli was first elected to borough mayor in November 2017 under the Projet Montréal banner. She defeated Anie Samson, the incumbent mayor and municipal politician for 23 years.

The party describes her as a union and community activist for over 17 years.

Opposition raises concerns

Ensemble Montréal said the situation is troubling and is calling for more transparency.

The Official Opposition is instead suggesting Fumagalli temporarily step down from her position in order to shed light on the allegations.

An interim borough mayor should also take over for Fumagalli as the mediation process begins, according to Ensemble Montréal.

“It’s never been seen before,” said Gabriel Retta, the director of the Opposition’s cabinet, on Twitter.

“Who is running this borough? An elected official forced to work at home.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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