Charity leader and former NSW political staffer Andrew Heslop, a Sydney-based Melburnian, is considering standing for the Melbourne mayoralty following the shock news incumbent Lord Mayor John So will not contest his position in the upcoming November 29 elections.

Approached to run by a group of individuals from the corporate sector, Heslop -” founder of the UN-recognised Neighbour Day and former staffer for former NSW Deputy Premier John Watkins -” had not initially taken the suggestion seriously. With a level playing field open to him though, the possibility is getting stronger with the openly gay Heslop confirming he has started considering running mates.

Last week when I was asked about whether I would consider it I was happy working for the NSW government but I’m not going to do that anymore, so I’ve changed my perspective on what I might do, Heslop told Sydney Star Observer, without officially committing to running.

Circumstances also changed again after John So decided against running again. So, I think, ran Melbourne very successfully. He brought a great deal of harmony, certainly to council functions, and the city has done some spectacular things under him ­-” hosted the Commonwealth Games -” and the city is looking good.

But I can see an opportunity to build on that and that’s what I’m now thinking about -” do my skills or the things that I’ve done in my career have some sort of ability to further enhance the city.

Heslop has until October 28 to nominate. Though he has not yet committed, he admitted that he had begun drawing up a list of possible deputies.

I’ve started to think about people I’ve worked with at a senior level who might have the experience needed, but no, I can’t mention any names at this point, he said.

I would need to find someone who was absolutely passionate about Melbourne, because if I decide to stand I am doing it because I believe in the city, although at this point in time I don’t think I would have a serious chance of winning.

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