Villeray–St-Michel–Parc-Ex mayor asked to work from home amid harassment allegations

Mayor Valérie Plante emphasized that working from home does not mean Giuliana Fumagalli has been suspended. The borough mayor will still be present at borough and city council meetings.

Giuliana Fumagalli will still be present at borough and city council, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said

Giuliana Fumagalli, a former Canada Post employee, was elected as mayor of the Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension borough last fall. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli has been asked to work from home after allegations of harassment were made against her. 

Mayor Valérie Plante made the announcement late Tuesday morning. She could not confirm the details of the allegations.

"We take these allegations very seriously," Plante said, adding that both Fumagalli and the person who accused her of harassment have agreed to go through the city's mediation process. 

"For me, this is excellent news," she said.

"I hope there's a good outcome, because we want things to work well in the borough," she said, assuring residents that borough services will continue normally.

Plante would not say if the person was a member of Fumagalli's administration.

Plante emphasized that working from home does not mean Fumagalli has been suspended. The borough mayor will still be present at borough and city council meetings, the mayor said. 

The next borough council meeting is scheduled for June 5, and city council will meet next on May 28. 

Fumagalli, who is a member of Projet Montréal, was first elected to office last year.

According to the party's website, Fumagalli is a union and community activist who has lived in the borough for more than 17 years. 

The Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension is composed of five elected representatives, including three from Projet Montréal: Fumagalli, Rosannie Filato and Sylvain Ouellet.

The other two councillors, Mary Deros and Frantz Benjamin, are from the official opposition party, Ensemble Montréal. 

Opposition calls for transparency

The leader of Ensemble Montréal, Lionel Perez, raised concerns about the accusations against Fumagalli on Tuesday afternoon. 

"Residents deserve to know exactly what happened," he said in a news scrum at Montreal City Hall. 

He criticized Plante for keeping the news from the public since May 10, the day she said the information came to light.

He said Plante's decision to ask Fumagalli to work from home was unacceptable and that the borough mayor should be suspended and replaced by an interim mayor.

The leader of Ensemble Montréal, Lionel Perez, raised concerns about the accusations against Fumagalli on Tuesday afternoon. (CBC)

Staying at home does not prevent one from the ability to harass through other means of communication, he said. 

"Everyone in that environment knows that it's not possible to be a part-time mayor," Perez said. 

He said as many as four other individuals who had been working in the borough office have quit. 

With files from CBC reporter Arian Zarrinkoub and Radio-Canada