Councillor Morelli back at city hall after two month sick leave

Ward 3 councillor got a rock-star welcome back at city hall Friday full of applause, kind comments from colleagues and lots of hugs.
"I'm back," says councillor Bernie Morelli on his first day returing from sick leave. He says he's feeling good. (Julia Chapman/CBC)

For the first time in over two months, there was a full house of councillors in the city hall chambers for the August council meeting.

Bernie Morelli, Ward 3 councillor who has been on sick leave since the beginning of June, occupied his spot once again.

"I'm looking good, I'm feeling good," he said. "My doctors, when they read this would say, what's he doing? But it's my blood."

Morelli was quiet and went unnoticed at council until he got a round of applause, a rock-star welcome back from colleagues.

(Even this interview, after the council meeting was over, was interrupted by a city staff member wanting to give Morelli a hug.)

Jason Farr, Ward 2 councillor who has been sitting next to an empty seat until Friday, said he was happy for Morelli to be back at work - our Ward 3 councillor is a nice smelling guy, Farr said.

Even though Morelli hasn't been around city hall, his office hasn't missed a beat, he said.

"I was on the street during the storm, I made house calls, I was dropping off blue boxes, but I couldn't come here," he said. "There were days when I wasn't reading my email, but I had my blackberry with me everyday."

Morelli didn't want to go into detail about what was battling, but said his challenge was containing the high-level of energy he has while getting better.

"Even when I'm sick, there's kind of a mental disposition," he said. "But there comes a time when you're on a stretcher and I was in septic shock."

Morelli hopes to be back full-time come September, but he knows there will be times he'll need to attend to his health.

"I was going to go to the police board on Monday and all of a sudden I couldn't because I had to go to another appointment. It was necessary to make sure everything was in place," he said.  "My health and family is number one...But this is my life, I haven't changed that."