Robert Doyle's temporary replacement has ruled out running for Melbourne's lord mayor, leaving the race wide open for seasoned politicians and personalities alike.
Arron Wood, who has been acting lord mayor since Mr Doyle's resignation amid sexual harassment allegations, announced he would not be running for a number of reasons.
"Primary on that list is my wonderful family, wanting to spend time with (my children) in those critical, early years is something I hold really precious," he told reporters on Thursday.
"Being deputy mayor is not second prize, I actually love doing what I do and I'm going to continue to do that job to the best of my ability."
Mr Wood conceded council would experience "more instability" if he ran for lord mayor, as it would trigger a second by-election for his role.
"(It's a) cost to ratepayers which I'm just not prepared to put them through," he said.
High-profile PR professional Ann Peacock has also ruled out standing for lord mayor, telling News Corp she seriously considered running but decided to instead continue her philanthropic work at Crown.
A host of politicians and personalities have considered a tilt at the coveted role, including Footy Show panellist Sam Newman, Moreland City councillor Oscar Yildiz and Property Council executive director Sally Capp.
State Labor MP and former emergency services minister Jane Garrett, who was mayor of the City of Yarra before she entered parliament, has also shown interest.
Ms Garrett won't re-contest her marginal seat of Brunswick at the November state election, and her early departure would trigger a by-election.
Mr Wood warned potential candidates that the role was more than just "ribbon cutting and ceremonial activities".
"The role is a really significant one, so the person who is successful ... really needs to know their stuff."
The speculation comes months before nominations even open for the vacancy on April 5.
The by-election was sparked by Mr Doyle's resignation while fighting allegations of sexual harassment and indecent assault.
Former City of Melbourne councillor Tessa Sullivan in December claimed sexual misconduct by the then-lord mayor against her and colleague Cathy Oke, and the allegations are being investigated.
Mr Doyle strenuously denies all allegations.
A by-election for a replacement lord mayor is scheduled for May 12, with the postal ballots to be sent to City of Melbourne residents during the week starting April 23.
THE RACE FOR MELBOURNE LORD MAYOR:
RUMOURED CANDIDATES: Labor MP Jane Garrett, Moreland councillor Oscar Yildiz, Property Council of Victoria boss Sally Capp, AFL Footy Show panellist Sam Newman
RULED OUT: Acting lord mayor Arron Wood, Melbourne PR identity Ann Peacock, Former Western Bulldogs vice-president Susan Alberti
Australian Associated Press