Harassment investigation expands: Borough mayor kicked out of Projet Montreal caucus
The mayor of Montreal has ordered an official investigation into allegations of workplace harassment by one of her borough mayors.
Villeray-St.Michel-Park Extension Borough Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli has been removed from caucus and a source tells CTV that Projet Montreal is working to remove her from the party altogether.
“In light of the recent alleged events, I have no choice but to exclude Giuliana Fumagalli from the majority caucus,” said Mayor Valerie Plante.
The allegations Fumagalli first came to light in May when a borough employee complained about her actions.
At the time, Plante ordered Fumagalli to work from home and to avoid contact with the employee, although Fumagalli still had to attend borough and city council meetings.
Fumagalli and the employee were also instructed to attend mediation sessions.
At May's borough meeting, Fumigalli admitted to having trouble handling her first term in office.
“There's no training to prepare someone for a transition like the one I had to do,” she said. “Adapting is difficult for me, that's no secret.”
Now Plante and city General Manager Serge Lamontagne said that the guidelines laid down by the mediator have not been followed, so they've instructed Montreal's Comptroller General Yves Grimard to investigate the workplace atmosphere in the Villeray-St.Michel-Park Extension borough.
"New allegations were brought to my attention [Thursday]. That causes me to consider that the agreement has not been fully respected. I have therefore asked the city of Montreal's director general to mandate the comptroller general to proceed to a full inquiry about the working climate in the Villeray-St.Michel-Park Extension borough," said Plante.
Projet Montreal has also taken steps to boot Fumagalli from the party.
During Grimard's investigation Fumagalli will be given a workspace at Montreal's main city hall, since she cannot be in contact with borough employees. She remains mayor of the borough.
“Someone will be making the connection between Mme. Fumagalli and the public servants in the borough because she cannot have contact with anyone at this point for the time of the inquiry,” said Plante
The exact nature of the harassment allegations and the name of the complainant have not been released.
In the city's ethics code, potential consequences range from a written reprimand to a 90-day suspension without pay.
Montreal's opposition party said several people have taken action so they no longer have to work with Fumagalli.
"The fact that her director of her borough, of her office, of her cabinet, has decided to take early retirement demonstrates clearly that there's a problem," said Perez.
"The fact that another political staff has decided to take a certain sick leave also because of the climate besides the other person that in fact laid out the original complaint. So there's multiple problems."
He said the Quebec Association of Municipalities should be notified to remove Fumagalli from office.
“It's the only entity that has the legal authority over an elected official in Quebec,” he said.