After being absent from the public for about a month, College Ward Coun. Rick Chiarelli attended the council budget meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 6, after notifying the council that he would not attend.

He needed to attend this meeting in order to keep his seat as councillor of the College ward, which Algonquin College sits in.

Chiarelli was re-elected as councillor of the College Ward in the 2015 municipal election. Since his role as councillor, he has played a crucial role in addressing student concerns such as affordable housing, proper inspections as well as infrastructure.

He has also paid visits in the past, to political science and local government classes at the college.

On Sept. 12, Chiarelli had been accused of sexual harassment by an applicant who had applied for a job at city hall. He denied the allegations at that time. Two weeks later, six more women shared their stories with CBC.

Since then, he’d be out of the public eye.

However, in a letter written by Chiarelli on Oct. 3, he stated that “since the middle of August” he had been dealing with health issues and that he has never treated any of his staff inappropriately, calling the allegations a “mob mentality.”

College ward councillor Rick Chiarelli at the Ottawa Nepean Canadian Sports Club, where he was re-elected as city councillor on Oct. 22, 2018. Photo credit: Trevor Oattes

In a city council meeting, which took place on Oct. 23, Chiarelli was denied a request to take additional leave by city council. It was also requested that in order for him to stay on as council, he needed to make an appearance for scheduled council meetings in November.

So far, he has missed three monthly meetings and according to the Municipal Ontario Municipal Act, when a member of the council misses three monthly meetings, their seat will become vacant, “without the council’s approval.”

The vote was 20-0, where 19 city councillors opposed Chiarelli’s request to take leave.

This is not the first time Chiarelli, put in a request to take leave. On Aug. 14, Chiarelli said that he fell ill and was rushed to the hospital due to an “unspecified illness” and two days later a video revealed that he was on vacation in the Czech Republic.

A day before the decision was made to deny his leave, Chiarelli threatened to appear in court in order to stop the investigations “multiple complaints” against him.

In the meantime, the councillors who are assigned to look over the College ward are Scott Moffatt (Rideau-Goulbourn councillor) as well as Allan Hubley (Kanata South councillor).

Chiarelli has continued to deny all the allegations against him.