Taylor Bachrach speaks during an NDP all-candidates meeting held in Smithers on May 4. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Bachrach takes leave of absence as mayor to focus on campaign trail

In the interim, Coun. Gladys Atrill will serve as deputy mayor

Taylor Bachrach is taking a leave of absence as mayor of Smithers.

Bachrach made the announcement at council’s August 27 meeting.

“I would like to request from council a leave of absence, beginning at the end of August, so that can focus full time on my campaign.”

Bachrach’s leave will begin at the end of August.

Bachrach is the NDP candidate in the upcoming federal election for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

“That’s going to be a full time commitment moving forward, and I’m fully confident in the team we have as a town, I’m tremendously proud of the work that we’ve done together over the past eight years.”

In terms of motions, council passed two unanimously: one granting the mayor a leave of absence and a second motion suspending his stipend.

READ MORE: Bachrach announces candidacy

Bachrach said that making the announcement was a little emotional, having spent the better part of a decade as mayor and even longer on Telkwa council.

“It was hard not to feel emotional reflecting on the past eight years and the experience.”

“I just have tremendous gratitude for this community it’s given my family … and I remain tremendously committed to this place.”

Bachrach said that he has enjoyed his time in the position but that the decision was one he felt he had to make in order to focus on his campaign full time.

“I didn’t want to do a big goodbye for fear that it would somehow jinx the outcome,” he joked.

“Elections are fickle things and I’m going to work as hard as I can at it and we’re going to see what the outcome is.”

In the meantime, when asked by The Interior News about what this means for the possibility of a potential future byelection, Bachrach said the Town is taking things one step at a time, adding that he is not resigning, but rather taking a leave of absence.

In the interim, Coun. Gladys Atrill will serve as deputy mayor for the Town.

Bachrach said he has full confidence in the Town to continue in his absence.

“[Councillor Atrill] has a strong team in the Town staff and the other councillors so I have every confidence that the Town is in good hands.”

For her part, Atrill said stepping up to the role is exciting, but that it also carries a lot of emotion with it given the circumstances.

“I’m looking forward to the role and I’m excited about working with council and at the same time there’s a little emotion about Taylor stepping away.

“He’s been a really strong leader.”

She said right now her and the rest of council are focused on continuing to get work done for the Town.

“It’s a bit murky because [Taylor] is involved in an election campaign and while im hoping and presuming he will do very well at it … elections aren’t over until they’re over.”

In the meantime, Bachrach confirmed there will only be six sitting members on council and, therefore, only six individuals voting on council matters.

At the end of council, during a public comment period, one individual spoke up about not wanting Bachrach to leave.

“I really don’t want you to go, that’s my feeling, but I wish you well … because you will do good, I know you will, because we trained you right.

“But I won’t be sad if you lose either,” they said, followed by laughter.

The federal election is scheduled to take place on or before October 21.

Other candidates in the riding include (alphabetically) Dave Birdi (Liberal), Jody Craven (PPC), Claire Rattée (Conservative), Michael Sawyer (Green) and Rod Taylor (CHP).

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