Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mayor Pam Iorio's book: Leading, not gossiping, and maybe hinting at the future

I met former Mayor Pam Iorio that day not at one of Tampa's everyone-who-is-anyone lunch spots, but at a quieter kind of place she seemed to prefer after handing off the job of running America's 54th largest city.

Around here, though, hot spots change as fast as an "elected official" can become an "indicted defendant." Before we got to the table, the mayor who left office with an 87 percent approval rating was stopped by one muckety-muck, then another. They chatted, and each one asked her the same thing: Am I in it?

Now that I've read Iorio's new book, Straightforward: Ways to Live & Lead, I can answer that question. If you are not Benjamin Franklin, David Petraeus, Tony Dungy, Rudyard Kipling, Tampa police Chief Jane Castor or Margaret Thatcher, then, no, you probably are not in it.

In Straightforward, you also will not find the sort of mayor who gets an omen from God after spotting the green flash at sunset the day he is sworn in to office, as former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker wrote in his book. Nor is hers a spy thriller, as was written by former U.S. Sen. and Florida Gov. Bob Graham. But then, Iorio hasn't run for those offices. Yet, anyway.

On the cover she is smiling and serious in one of her Practical Pam suits. Much of the book reads like a how-to for business and political types, pulling from her years as a county commissioner first elected at age 26, as elections supervisor and as two-term, term-limited mayor. It's a textbook on things like building credibility, picking good mentors, embracing technology, balancing work and family and living a "centered life." She writes of a polarized America with a serious leadership problem, in which "the middle ground, where so many answers can be found, is a casualty."

And darn it, she does not dish the dirt.

She tells a funny story of lights dimmed at what must have been a scintillating workshop on wastewater sludge, and how she inquired if they really had a quorum since a majority of commissioners were asleep. But does she name names? No — not even the cranky congressman she interned for who convinced her that yelling at people who work for you is not the best way to inspire them. She doesn't name the person she respected who called to say she shouldn't run for mayor because it was locked for someone else — which helped her decide to run.

Four police officers died on her watch as mayor. It clearly changed her. She wrote, in a raw way, about Juan Serrano, the police bodyguard whose presence she initially bristled at but who became a friend she could talk to and know it would stay between them. One weekend he watched her run the Gasparilla 5K, dropped her off afterward and on his way home was killed by a drunk driver. She feels a responsibility still.

She talks success (the art museum, progress in east Tampa, the Republican National Convention) and also mistakes. At one of her first commission meetings, she chatted and laughed with another official during the time the public got to speak. Afterward, an older woman told her how disappointed she was in her. "I never did it again," Iorio wrote.

Iorio-like, she prudently says little about political plans in print or in person. But her book reads to me like the teachings of a seasoned pol headed for higher office — like, say, governor in 2014. But hey, maybe I'm reading into it.

Mayor Pam Iorio's book: Leading, not gossiping, and maybe hinting at the future 11/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 9:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What you need to know for Friday, Aug. 18

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read 'Hellfire from Above,' inside the Tampa Electric Co. power plant accident that left five people dead. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  2. Tampa is training ground for Team USA inline skating

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The United States once dominated the sport known as international outdoor inline speed skating.

    Cotton Yarborough is one of five people from the Tampa Bay area on the national inline speed skating team. The team is competing in the world championships Aug. 27 in China. [Courtesy of Frank Holland]
  3. Grocery and hotel deals in reach for Tampa Encore project

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — After failing to land both Publix and Walmart, the Tampa Housing Authority says it is close to a deal to bring another well-known grocer to its Encore project.

    The Tampa Housing Authority's Encore project has housing like The Reed, pictured, but no retail. It is in talks to bring a grocer and two hotels to the site on the west side of Nebraska Avenue close to downtown Tampa.
  4. Epilogue: Former Salty Sisters captain Ernestine Mittermayr, 92

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Ernestine Mittermayr was proud to be a Salty Sister, one of a group of women sailors in the city.

  5. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.