Edinburgh Council planning chief Lewis Ritchie has taken a “leave of absence” from his duties just days after being nominated for a top political award.
The SNP said the councillor’s decision to step aside was due to health reasons and said he would be allowed to return to his duties when he felt able to.
Just last week, Mr Ritchie was shortlisted - alongside Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing and Susan Aitken, the first ever SNP leader of Glasgow City Council - for the Local Politician of the Year category at the prestigious Politician of the Year awards to be held later this month at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield hotel.
A spokesman for the SNP said Mr Ritchie’s departure was not part of a disciplinary process. He said: “We can confirm Cllr Richie is taking a leave of absence for health reasons.”
Keen boxer and runner Mr Ritchie, who was this year named chair of the Royal Air Forces Association for Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders and is an Army reservist, is listed on his Linkedin page as being employed as a policy officer for Children in Scotland, but according to the charity’s website, no longer works there.
In addition to his council salary of £31,712 a year, Mr Ritchie also earns £2,500 per annum for his non-executive director position at Children’s Hearings Scotland, as well as £1,000 a year for his work as an army reservist.
Earlier this year, Mr Ritchie announced that he was to take part in a trio of endurance sporting event in a bid to raise £5,000 for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity. However, while he completed the first two of his challenges, an Ironman triathlon in the south of France, a 106 mile endurance cycle in the Trossachs, he did not take part in a 50 mile ultra marathon in Strathavern, according to the race’s results page.
According to his biography on the website of Children’s Hearings Scotland, Mr Ritchie is also board member of Citizens Advice Edinburgh, chair of the Gaelic Implementation Steering Group and sits as a member of the CEC’s Education Committee. He is also currently in the process of completing a doctorate in applied social research at the University of Stirling.