Acting Mayor Doug Thompson and Deputy Mayor Eli El-Chantiry will be handing the duties back to Mayor Larry O’Brien this morning, and it will be busy as usual at city hall.
“We have a lot of files to move forward on. Larry was duly elected by a large majority. He is the mayor and it’s great to see him back in his position where he should have been,” said Thompson. “He’s been through the judicial system. He’s been found not guilty, so he’s ready to move on.”
El-Chantiry said he was happy the charges against O’Brien were dismissed.
“I’m pleased we’re moving forward in our life and things are getting back to normal. I’m sure the mayor is relieved as well,” he said.
O’Brien will have around three weeks to settle in before the agenda gets back into full swing at 110 Laurier Ave. There is a planning and environment committee meeting on Aug. 25, but the next full council meeting is not until Sept. 2.
Councillors Jan Harder, Bob Monette and Rob Jellett, as well as Thompson, were in the courtroom as the verdict was read.
Jellett said now that the trial is over, he hoped they could get back to trying to improve the city.
The clarity and forcefulness of Justice Douglas Cunningham’s decision should help O’Brien’s credibility as he returns to his post, said Coun. Rainer Bloess.
“The onus is on him to lead council very quickly, to spell out his views of where we’re going on the last year or so of this mandate and show the leadership he was elected to provide,” said Bloess.
The Ottawa and District Labour Council was the initial complainant in the case that lead to the charges.
ODLC president Sean McKenny predicted the mayor still has a “tough haul” ahead of him.
“This isn’t the only thing that has been hanging over his head,” said McKenny. “We’ve got elections coming around in about 15 months, and we’ll see what happens between now and then.”