Charlottetown Coun. Eddie Rice has announced he is taking a medical leave of absence, effective immediately.

In an emailed statement, Rice said he has been struggling with personal issues for two years.

The Ward 1 councillor said other councillors would step in to deal with local issues until he and his doctor feel he is able to return to work.

He asked that his privacy be respected until he returns from leave.

Subject of controversy

Rice has recently been the target of a petition to remove him from office.

The petition, signed by more than 200 people, makes reference to a recent stay away notice issued by the Prince of Wales Campus of Holland College.

In a statement released last week, the college says Rice was involved in a verbal and physical altercation with a member of staff, and that the incident had been captured on security video.

Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy responded to the petition, saying council can only dismiss a councillor found guilty of an indictable offence. He also added the city was reviewing the matter in relation to the City's code of conduct.