Columbus Mayor Robert Smith is back to working at City Hall a few days a week after taking several weeks off recovering from a brief stint at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle Feb. 21 for an undisclosed illness.
“(I’m) easing back in,” Smith told The Dispatch Wednesday. “The doctor said for the next three weeks, I should try Monday, Wednesday, Friday, at least three hours a day. That’s what I’ve done.”
The mayor on Wednesday did not comment on the nature of his illness.
Smith, also campaigning for re-election against two opponents he will face on the June 8 general ballot, said he worked a handful of hours on Monday, including overseeing a meeting with city department heads. He also presided over Tuesday night’s city council meeting. He said he is working additional hours from home.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Smith publicly thanked the people who sent him well wishes or otherwise reached out to him while he was recovering. He specifically thanked the vice mayor, Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin, who filled in for Smith while he was out by running department head meetings, overseeing personnel and making some executive decisions.
“I think Vice Mayor Gavin did an outstanding job during my absence, and I’m just very thankful to him for filling in,” Smith told The Dispatch. “I also want to thank the council and the citizens for their support while I was out. … I’m glad to be back right now.”
Gavin said though he is mostly back to being a full-time councilman, he went by City Hall Wednesday to make sure Smith was feeling well and that everything was going smoothly. He said he was glad to have been able to help when Smith was out.
“I think being able to take some of that load off him really helped him,” Gavin said. “I hope I was able to do that when I was needed. I had the experience to help to step in when I was needed to help fulfill that obligation.”
Smith faces independents Keith Gaskin and Montrell Coburn in the June 8 election.