A city employee who wants to run for councillor in District 4 Cole Harbour-Westphal is ineligible, according to the returning officer for Halifax Regional Municipality.

Angela Jones did not apply for leave to run in the municipal election — so although she filed her nomination papers on time — Jones cannot be a candidate, Cathy Mellett says.

"It's very clear, under the [Municipal Elections] Act, that she has to request leave in order to run, and that's a very specific requirement, and if you don't request it as of the date of your nomination, you're not qualified," Mellett said.

Angela Jones, who has been a city solitictor for 15 years, says she's already on parental leave and discussed the matter with the returning officer.

"How does someone, who's on a leave of absence request a leave of absence? But I was still willing, if they so wanted on nomination day, and we discussed it further in more depth, and we were both satisfied that I was in compliance," Jones said.

Jones says she has hired a lawyer to appeal the decision in the courts and expects to have an emergency hearing next week.

Election day in HRM is Oct. 20.