An email by City of Sydney councillor Angela Vithoulkas, obtained by the Sydney Sentinel, has exposed Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore for excluding her in a “post-pandemic vision” project that she believes should have been included in.
Copied to all eight other councillors, as well as City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone, Small Business Party founder Vithoulkas slammed the Lord Mayor for not inviting her to a joint City of Sydney–NSW Government summit, which was billed as an initiative “to ensure retailers, cafes, bars and restaurants had the best opportunities possible across the Christmas and summer trading period”.
While Vithoulkas has since decided to stay on as a councillor, the councillor says the lack of an invitation brought her to the end of her tether after repeated instances of exclusion and political partisanship.
“Lord Mayor, this is the most difficult email I have written in my eight years as a councillor,” Vithoulkas began.
“I have finally reached the end of the line when it comes to thinking for even a moment there might be a form of democracy or respect within our council,” she wrote.
“I have always been very transparent with my views [and] most councillors know that I say what I think, and if I give my word, it stands.
“What I won’t stand for anymore is the disrespect I feel has been delivered yet again to myself and the small business community within the City of Sydney.”
Vithoulkas possesses decades of hospitality experience, previously running the award-winning Vivo Cafe on George Street, which she ran with her brother Con for 16 years until its closure in August 2018.
Vithoulkas alleged that if the summit had pertained to town planning matters, the Lord Mayor would have sought the involvement of Councillor Philip Thalis, a town planner; and that if it had related to the arts, Moore would have called upon Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully, an art curator and former arts festival director.
“Of course I know I am not on your team,” Vithoulkas wrote. “But I think it’s fairly safe to say I have more hospitality business experience than any other councillor and in fact most likely any staff at the City.”
She continued: “You should have included me. You should have done it because it was the right thing to do. It shouldn’t have been political and you know very well I would not have made it that.
“I am disappointed and frankly disgusted … with a structure that holds political media point scoring in higher regard than actually fixing a problem.”
In her missive, Vithoulkas said she was “looking into the process of resignation … because I am not sure how I could continue to be part of a council that I have lost faith in”.