Ottawa city council unanimously denies Rick Chiarelli’s leave of absence request

Ottawa city council has deferred its decision on Cumberland Ward's vacant seat. Beatrice Britneff / Global News File

Ottawa city council on Wednesday denied a leave of absence request by Coun. Rick Chiarelli with a unanimous “no.”

The motion was put forth at a council meeting after Chiarelli provided a doctor’s note to council requesting he be off until at least Dec. 1.

READ MORE: Mayor, councillors release statements on Chiarelli allegations

The motion would have given Chiarelli an indeterminate leave of absence that could have extended until the end of term.

Coun. Scott Moffatt, one of two councillors responsible for covering Chiarelli’s ward while he is away, said a situation where the leave is extended over the rest of the term would be a difficult one.

“It’s not tenable to have up to three years of a councillor looking after more than one ward, even if it’s two councillors,” said Moffatt.

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READ MORE: Ottawa city council defers Coun. Rick Chiarelli’s request for leave

Chiarelli has been away from the job for the last few months with what he says is a medical issue that came about in August.

This is the second time council has made a decision on Chiarelli’s request, having deferred it at a previous meeting until more information became available.

Chiarelli faces allegations of misconduct stemming from several alleged instances of inappropriate behaviour with female employees and interviewees. The city’s integrity commissioner is investigating the allegations.

According to the Ontario Municipal Act, without proper leave, Chiarelli can only miss three months’ worth of council meetings before his seat is considered vacated.

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