New Lord Mayor’s big first day move
NEW Lord Mayor Sally Capp has sensationally scrapped the official mayoral car on her first day in the job.
Cr Capp will cycle, walk and use public transport as much as possible for official business.
The move will be a big saving for ratepayers and a stark contrast to former lord mayor Robert Doyle, who used the chauffeured vehicle frequently, including trips to and from work.
The luxury LPG-powered Holden Caprice and driver cost an average $240 a day, a Herald Sun investigation revealed last year. The total cost for Mr Doyle's last full four-year term was $321,000.
The mayoral car became embroiled in the council's investigation of Mr Doyle after former councillor Tessa Sullivan accused him of assaulting her when she was given a lift home in the car last year.
Mr Doyle denied the claim, backed up by his driver, however investigator Ian Freckelton, QC, accepted Ms Sullivan's allegation.
Cr Capp said she was ditching the "mayoral limousine" as she wanted to get around "in a way that more accurately reflects the experience of all Melburnians".
"That's why I'll be walking, cycling, using public transport and driving my own car to and from work and official events," she told the Herald Sun. "I'll still on occasion use a car service, on an as-needs basis, when that is the most appropriate and efficient transport option."
Cr Capp, 50, a mother of two, was sworn in to the $189,284-a-year job yesterday after a smoking and cleansing ceremony by Aboriginal elders at Town Hall. Much of the council chamber was filled by the Lord Mayor's family and friends.
Speaking later, Cr Capp referred to the sexual harassment scandal involving Mr Doyle when reflecting on the ceremony's significance.
"I was thinking about that opportunity to really cleanse what has been somewhat of a troubled and disruptive last six months in particular, and an opportunity for all of us to really look forward," she said.
Cr Capp and the other 10 city councillors signed a new code of conduct introduced in the wake of the scandal that led to Mr Doyle's resignation in February.
The former Property Council chief said it was an honour to be the first directly elected female lord mayor.
"The fact that the people of Melbourne also voted for an independent woman who can bring new leadership, a new style, a new tone a different set of experiences to add value into the city ... is so exciting for me," Ms Capp said.
Her husband, Andrew Sutherland, who is officially described as the Lord Mayor Consort, said he was ecstatic about his wife's new role.
"I'm just in awe, to be honest," he said.