Mayor Plante ejects borough mayor from caucus over harassment allegations

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante ejected one of her party’s borough mayors from the majority caucus on Friday morning, after receiving ongoing complaints about workplace harassment.

“Such behaviour could not and will not be tolerated in our workplace,” Plante said at a press conference at City Hall.

Allegations were first levied against Giuliana Fumagalli, mayor of the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough, in May.

Immediately after the allegations were received, a mediation process was triggered, and a formal agreement about what constitutes appropriate workplace conduct was reached, according to Plante.

Yesterday, the Mayor received new information about allegations that suggest Fumagalli has not changed her behaviour.

“We have information that says some people believe it’s not working,” Plant said. “From there we are taking the next step.”

Mayor Plante has ordered her Contrôleur Général to conduct a full investigation into the workplace atmosphere in the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough office, during which time, Fumagalli will only have very limited access to her staff.

“Our intention is to make sure there is no contact whatsoever,” Plante said. “We want to make sure this process is done thoroughly.”

Fumagalli will be given a space to work at City Hall, away from her borough office. She will still be allowed to attend borough and city council meetings.

Opposition leader Lionel Perez says the action taken today does not carry the appropriate weight.

“It’s unacceptable what the mayor has done,” Perez told reporters after the Mayor’s press conference.  “What she should be doing is in fact filing a complaint with the Quebec municipal commission. It is the only institution that has the authority to suspend or investigate elected officials in Quebec.”

That option is still on the table, according to a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office.