News State Victoria News Councillor replaced amid misconduct allegations against Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

Councillor replaced amid misconduct allegations against Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

melbourne mayor robert doyle
Tessa Sullivan resigned last month after making allegations against Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. Photo: AAP
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The Melbourne councillor who accused Lord Mayor Robert Doyle of sexual misconduct has been replaced.

Beverley Pinder-Mortimer, who was fifth on the Team Doyle ticket in the 2016 election, was returned to council in a countback on Monday.

Ms Pinder-Mortimer accepted the position and said she would “seek to restabilise the council” in a statement on Monday.

It comes almost a month after former councillor Tessa Sullivan resigned with bombshell allegations that Cr Doyle sexually harassed and groped her.

Cr Doyle, 64, strenuously denied the allegations but stood aside while the claims are independently investigated.

Tessa Sullivan's abrupt resignation from the council has stunned Melburnians.
Tessa Sullivan accused Robert Doyle of sexual harassment and misconduct. Photo: City of Melbourne

Lead investigator Ian Freckleton QC on Monday told The New Daily he expected to finish this month, and it would be up to council chief executive Ben Rimmer to whom he provides the report.

Cr Doyle originally took one month leave, but has extended the time off to allow for the investigation to be completed.

“The Lord Mayor has extended his leave until such time that the investigation has been concluded,” said Miche Paterson of Newgate publicity firm, hired by Cr Doyle to restore his reputation.

Former councillor Stephen Mayne, who has provided evidence to the investigation, said in an article for Crikey on Monday that he expected Cr Doyle to resign.

He congratulated Ms Pinder-Mortimer on Twitter and said she would be “an excellent addition at this time”.

The new councillor

Ms Pinder-Mortimer, who was previously a councillor from 2012 until 2016, said it was an “honour” to return.

Beverley Pinder-Mortimer has been re-elected on a countback on Monday.
Beverley Pinder-Mortimer has been re-elected on a countback on Monday. Photo: Supplied

“I love Melbourne. It is a great city with wonderful people, flourishing businesses and a diverse community; and I am excited to play a positive and meaningful role in its present and future,” she said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with my fellow councillors as we seek to restabilise the Council and ensure Melbourne remains the world’s most liveable city delivering the best outcomes for our city and the community.

“I am ready to once again embrace any portfolio that is assigned to me and commit my time and energy into making a positive impact on the City of Melbourne.”

Ms Pinder-Mortimer was chair of the Marketing Melbourne portfolio responsible for Events, Marketing, Tourism and Retail, and was deputy chair of Arts and Culture.

She is experienced in public relations and reputation management, according to her LinkedIn page.

Ms Pinder-Mortimer also works with the National Institute of Integrative Medicine, the Lighthouse Foundation to help end youth homelessness, and the Father Bob Maguire Foundation.

Allegations against the Lord Mayor

Ms Sullivan alleged Cr Doyle groped her breast, according to The Age.

On a separate occasion Ms Sullivan said she accompanied Cr Doyle to the elevator after a meeting and said she would go down with him, referring to the elevator.

He allegedly replied: “Will you just? I love cunnilingus.”

Ms Sullivan’s friend Jacqui Siebel, who acted as a support person when Ms Sullivan resigned and made the complaint, last month told The New Daily her friend was “very brave” for coming forward with the allegations.

Earlier this month, a second councillor came forward with allegations against Cr Doyle.

Greens member Cathy Oke claims the Lord Mayor tried to kiss her. On a separate occasion, he allegedly clutched her upper thigh under the table during a meeting, The Age reported.

Cr Oke has reportedly given evidence to the investigation.

A Melbourne City spokesperson declined to comment.