Ashton extends leave of absence as Penticton mayor

Garry Litke confirms he intends to run for mayor when a byelection is scheduled

For the time being, Garry Litke will remain in the centre seat as Penticton’s acting mayor.

At a special morning meeting to pass the tax bylaw on May 9, Penticton city council also took the opportunity to pass a motion appointing Litke acting mayor, in the event Mayor Dan Ashton asked for an extension to his unpaid leave of absence.

That came to pass when Ashton was elected as the Penticton riding’s MLA Tuesday. On Wednesday, Ashton set out to talk to administrators at both the RDOS, where he is also chair, and the city.

“I am not sure of the process now,” said Ashton. “I’ve had the incredible honour of being involved in Penticton and regional politics for quite a while and I want to have the opportunity to say goodbye.”

Ashton isn’t sure when he will turn in his official resignation, but says it will happen in “the very near future.” As long as it happens before October 2013, that will trigger a mayoral byelection in Penticton.

“Based on council’s direction from last Thursday, I will continue as acting mayor until something else happens,” said Litke, who has held the position since Ashton took leave to start campaigning last month.

Litke said he has enjoyed the experience, and confirmed that he plans to run for mayor and make it permanent.

“This month has been great and I have always thought about it and had my eye on it, so there is a very good possibility that I would run,” said Litke.

“This past month has gone by very quickly. There have been a number of challenges that I rose to and dealt with properly. I am very gratified by the support of the rest of council. They seem to be gathering into a good team attitude and staff has been wonderfully supportive.”