Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephyrhills mayor decides not to seek sixth term

ZEPHYRHILLS — After a decade as the face of Zephyrhills, Mayor Cliff McDuffie has decided not to seek re-election this spring.

"It's just time for me to go, and I'll leave it at that," McDuffie, 77, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I need to do (it) for me."

City Manager Jim Drumm said he recently received a letter from McDuffie explaining his decision, in which the mayor described an epiphany he had while driving to Tampa. McDuffie, who used to live in Hillsborough County and was extremely involved in community boards and organizations, said he originally moved to Zephyrhills to detach himself from his community duties so that he could focus more on his family.

However, he once again became the man about town. He was executive director of the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce when he won his first mayoral election in 2002. He retired from the chamber position in 2005 and since then has been going full-steam as mayor, attending civic events, writing proclamations and representing the city on many boards and committees. And although the mayor does not have a vote on the City Council, he has taken his seat up on the dais for council meetings and has voiced his opinions.

"From my short tenure here, he's been an effective mayor," Drumm said. "For what's supposed to be a part-time job, he's made it a full-time job."

Drumm said he hopes the next mayor is as dedicated as McDuffie.

Two candidates have already jumped into the race for the job.

Zephyrhills High School principal Steve Van Gorden and former city Planning Commission member Michael Payne have filed paperwork to run for mayor in the April 10 election. The mayor serves a two-year term.

Van Gorden, 36, previously served on the Dade City Commission until 2009, when he stepped down because he was moving to Zephyrhills. He could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Payne made his first run for office in 2008 with a campaign for the Zephyrhills City Council. He resigned last fall from the Planning Commission, which he criticized as a "rubber stamp" operation for its blessing of a proposal to seek brownfield status for a large part of the city. He raised concerns then about the stigma of the label and the need for more information.

Payne said Tuesday he's been impressed with McDuffie and hopes to continue his work.

"He's done a lot of good in this town, and if he's not going to be running, then someone needs to pick up the ball and keep running," said Payne, 53, who owns a local pest management business. "People looked to Cliff as a leader. I feel like I could go ahead and continue that."

The official qualifying period for the April election doesn't begin until noon Feb. 14 and ends at noon Feb. 21. Two other seats are up for re-election, those of council president Jodi Wilkeson and council member Ken Burgess, who was appointed to the position in July when council member Tim Urban stepped down to move back to his hometown of Brooksville. No challengers had filed for either of those seats by Tuesday afternoon.

Zephyrhills mayor decides not to seek sixth term 01/31/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”