Montreal

Valérie Plante says Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Ex mayor should resign

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says the mayor of Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension, Giuliana Fumagalli, should step down in light of the findings of an investigation into her behaviour in the workplace.

Investigation into harassment complaints identified situations that violated workplace respect policy

'I've found it very troubling,' said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante of Alain Bond's report, calling on Giuliana Fumagalli to consider whether she can effectively run the borough. (CBC)

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says the mayor of Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension, Giuliana Fumagalli, should step down in light of the findings of an investigation into her behaviour in the workplace.

"Based on my criteria, she doesn't have the legitimacy at this point to be the mayor of Villeray," said Plante Friday afternoon.

Montreal's comptroller, Alain Bond, released his final report on the investigation into complaints of harassment by Fumagalli last year.

The role of the comptroller is to ensure ethical behaviour and enforce the city's code of conduct. It is an unelected position.

Bond's report does not include details about the exact nature of the harassment complaints. He said the workplace problems and situations he identified violated the city's respect in the workplace policy.

"I've found it very troubling, what we've learned from the comptroller," said Plante.

"To me, it's absolutely zero tolerance when it comes to how we treat our employees, how we work with them. It has to be done in a very respectful way."

Complaints about Giuliana Fumagalli's conduct first surfaced in May 2018. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

However, it's not in her power to force Fumagalli to step down, Plante said.

"As mayor of the city, I don't have the power to decide. She's an elected official. She was legally elected."

'I'm ... asking Mme. Fumagalli to question herself': Plante

Fumagalli was kicked out of Projet Montréal caucus and barred from communicating directly with employees in August 2018.

With those measures in place, Plante said she is concerned Fumagalli cannot adequately run the borough.

"I'm definitely asking Madam Fumagalli to question herself," said Plante. "Does she have the legitimacy to do her work?" 

Complaints about Fumagalli's conduct first surfaced in May 2018, prompting Bond's investigation.

The report cannot be made public, but the City of Montreal says it's taking every means necessary to create a safe and respectful work environment.

Sanctioning elected officials

The Commission municipale du Québec, the province's administrative tribunal in charge of municipalities, has confirmed that its own investigation into the allegations against Fumagalli continues. Details remain confidential.

In general, after an investigation is launched, there needs to be sufficient evidence of violations against a municipality's code of ethics for the commission to hold a public hearing.

If imposed, sanctions range from a simple reprimand to a maximum 90-day suspension.

The most serious sanction ever handed down by the commission was against the mayor of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Alain Laplante.

In total, Laplante was suspended for 412 days without pay for violating the municipality's code of ethics.

With files from CBC's Sarah Leavitt

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