Sykesville Councilwoman Julie A. Kaus is taking a leave of absence from her municipal duties to care for her ailing 3-year-old daughter, Hannah.
"My daughter was diagnosed with leukemia last summer and is undergoing treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital," said Ms. Kaus, who was re-elected to the council in May.
"We are doing really well now," she said, but added that, for now, she must devote all her time to her daughter.
Ms. Kaus said she was reluctant to resign and discussed her leave with Mayor Kenneth W. Clark and the other council members.
"The council and I fully support Julie in this action," said Mr. Clark. "We are unanimous in our understanding of her situation ++ and are trying to show compassion."
No charter provision exists for a leave of absence. But, he said, "We have nothing that says a council member can't take a leave either."
"As long as we have a quorum and can conduct business, this certainly won't be a problem."
With four of the six members present, the council could legally conduct business at its twice-monthly meetings.
Ms. Kaus and her husband, Duane Withers, moved to Sykesville in 1990 with Sarah, now a first-grader at Piney Ridge Elementary School, and Hannah, who will be 4 on Dec. 1.
In 1992, at the suggestion of her Norwood Avenue neighbor, Councilman Jonathan Herman, Ms. Kaus applied for a council seat vacated by Wiley Purkey's resignation.
"I feel small towns are the backbone of this country and I would like to take an active role in preserving Sykesville," she wrote in her application.
On the council, she has been involved with the Recycling Committee and serves as liaison with the Historic District Commission.
"It has been a privilege to represent constituents here," she said.
Ms. Kaus said she hopes to return to her work on the council in February.