Former Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth tweets "dysfunction within City Hall is astounding"
For the past several months, former Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth has flirted with the idea of getting back into local politics to put a stop to what he calls "dysfunction" in City Hall. He brought it up in 2012, again in January and now in a tweet:
Hackworth was responding to a posting of a Times article about the recent closing of a Sunshine Law investigation of Commissioner Heather Gracy and Vice Mayor Bruce Livingston that opened following the forced resignation of Rob DiSpirito in January. He said although the investigation didn't yield any evidence of wrongdoing, he doesn't believe the commissioners' actions were fair.
"I understand the evidence of criminal activity was not there, but I think that there was plenty of evidence to indicate that people were acting in inappropriate ways that didn't serve the best interest of the city of Dunedin," he said in a later interview with the Times. "Our residents are looking for good government -- it's what they deserve -- and I don't think they're getting that."
Hackworth served on the commission from 2002-2009, including one term as mayor, then challenged then-Mayor David Eggers in 2012 and lost. Although he still isn't sure whether or not he will run for the top spot again this November, he says he's considering it because he knows something has to change.
"I am concerned... and I am not pointing the finger at anybody in particular, but there is a lot of dysfunction there that isn't resulting in any good decision making," he said. "It is clear (the dysfunction) has been going on for years, and I think it runs deep."
Hackworth said he thinks there is a solution, but it would take leaders who are "willing to step forward, do their jobs and hold the integrity of their positions" to find it.
"It's across the board, everybody is guilty, and it's a mess," he said. "But I don't think that means I necessarily have to be the guy to clean it up either."
He said the decision about whether or not he will run is so difficult because he has already experienced serving as an elected official and knows what a toll it can take on someone's personal life.
"I know how much time it can consume, and I have a business to run and a family to raise," he said. "It's a big decision, something I have to consider heavily."