HUNTSVILLE, ON- The mayor of Huntsville will be away for a while.

During last night’s meeting of council, an unpaid leave of absence was approved for Mayor Scott Aitchison, who will be running for the Conservative Party in the upcoming federal election in Parry Sound-Muskoka.

The leave will be effective as of September 1st, until election day on October 21st.

Aitchison told the newsroom that he had asked council to pass a motion for the leave not because it was required he take one, but because he felt it was important for Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano to have the full support of council.

He also wanted to formalize the leave, and make it clear to the public he would be waiving his pay as mayor and pay as a member of the District of Muskoka council for the next two months.

However, he indicated that he would still be able to help as needed.

“It’s not like I’m gone completely,” said Aitchison.

“If she (Terziano) still has questions, I’m still around, obviously. There are lots of things, day to day, that come across the mayor’s desk. I’ve got a stack of papers I need to sign here now, for example, those things can’t wait, and I needed to be focused on the campaign. So I just wanted to make sure that all the duties and responsibilities of this office are covered while I’m campaigning. That’s why we did it.”

During his absence, Terziano will assume all roles and responsibilities of the mayor. As the alternate member to District of Muskoka Council, Councillor Jonathan Wiebe will fill in for the Aitchison during District Council meetings.

As for what happens if he wins the seat and heads to Ottawa, Aitchison didn’t want to give direction on the possibility.

“I would want council to have a full discussion, and make a decision about how I should be replaced,” said Aitchison.

“I wouldn’t want to prejudice their discussion because it’s still very much a hypothetical.”

According to the Huntsville Doppler, Terziano will see her pay increase while she serves mayoral duties.

She will receive an additional $3,585.33 (gross), which is the difference between the gross earnings of the Deputy Mayor ($3,381.92) during the period from September 1, 2019, to October 21, 2019, and the gross earnings of the Mayor ($6,967.25) during that same period.

Aitchison’s leave will end at exactly 11:59 p.m. on October 21st, according to the town.