Two Ottawa city councillors had life-changing events occur in their lives this week.
One will be celebrating, the other will be forced to re-exam his future.
For Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney, who saw charges of corruption against him withdrawn, it’s a week worth celebrating.
Seems little doubt Tierney got off easy. He will have to give up two months salary. Small price to pay. And he can now stop plotting for ways to get his wife Jenny Tierney into his municipal seat under a scenario where he feared he would lose his job.
A quick recap: On the last day of registration for the 2018 election, Michael Schurter, a real estate agent who had nothing but good things to say about Tierney, registered to run against Tierney with just minutes to spare before the deadline.
I phoned Tierney to get his reaction. He was freaking out, apparently with his extended family on hand – getting ready to pop the champagne to celebrate what he had hoped was going to be an acclamation.
Then, according to OPP documents, Tierney called Schurter on his cell phone. Schurter put the call on speaker phone and three people in the Elections Ottawa office alleged they heard the councillor offer to make a donation to a local food bank if Schurter withdrew his candidacy.
(Remember what happened to former mayor Larry O’Brien when he was accused of offering mayoral hopeful Terry Kilrea an incentive to drop out of the race?)
Schurter contacted the police, and the OPP anti-rackets division charged Tierney with “corrupt practices,” or bribery. I should mention I had a visit from the OPP myself, who wanted to discuss in further detail my phone conversation with Tierney.
It was an ugly time, with the super-paranoid Tierney flipping out over what his huge mistake in phoning Schurter could cost him.
But now that’s all over for Tierney and his family. Perhaps that bottle of champagne was actually popped!
What is still so puzzling is why Tierney was so desperate to be acclaimed. It would have been an easy romp to a re-election victory – and while he gets to keep his job – clearly his reputation has been tarnished!
The week hasn’t been as kind to College Coun. Rick Chiarelli.
Chiarelli is a longtime city councillor with a wicked sense of humour he often uses against Mayor Jim Watson. The media loves a good quote, and Chiarelli delivers. When Watson unveiled a budget with questionable numbers, Chiarelli called it a Christmas Miracle. The media ate it up, Watson fumed. Chiarelli also had the audacity (and yes, that’s sarcasm) to beat Watson’s former employee Ryan Kennery in the last election.
According to a story by the CBC, Chiarelli has been accused of asking inappropriate questions during a job interview to a woman seeking employment at city hall. The woman has since filed a complaint with Ottawa’s integrity commissioner, suggesting she was asked inappropriate questions of a sexual nature during a job interview.
The same CBC story also said the corporation had spoken with several others who’ve worked in Chiarelli’s office, and a number of those said they’d heard the councillor make inappropriate comments in the workplace.
It’s a sad, ugly story wherever the truth lies.
Not surprisingly, Chiarelli isn’t talking to the media and is now apparently on sick leave.