Councillor Rick Chiarelli’s chair has been empty at city hall for weeks and on Wednesday his council colleagues put the approval of his medical leave of absence request on hold.

Chiarelli had requested the leave for "an indeterminate period of time, and at least until October 9” but city clerk and solicitor Rick O’Connor said in his view the request was “premature.”

A councillor’s seat becomes vacant when they miss three months of meetings. Chiarelli isn’t close to that but councillors Scott Moffatt and Allan Hubley are stepping in in his absence.

“I pass no judgement on my colleague,” said Hubley. “I’ll wait for the investigation before determining how I feel about the whole thing.”

“What I want to look after is the residents to make sure they get represented and also to help Councillor Chiarelli’s staff,” Hubley added.

This comes after Chiarelli's office confirmed he was in Prague just days after he said he was rushed to hospital on August 14.

“The doctors advised me to get away from all the stress and two out of three doctors agreed that it would be better to go with my family overseas then to deal with stress alone, at home,” Chiarelli said in a statement.

The leave of absence request will be considered on a date that has yet to be determined.

In a statement on Wednesday Chiarelli thanked his fellow councillors for stepping in while he's away.

"While I very much appreciate the extra time they take in those tasks, they are not voting for me, setting policy, or meeting with community associations in my ward. My office will continue to work hard for constituents, community associations, and serve College Ward well while I am away for at least the next two weeks and by that time, I will be reassessed," Chiarelli said.