TARPON SPRINGS — David O. Archie is seeking the reins to the city's leadership by running for mayor.
Archie, 56, filed qualifying papers with the city clerk Friday, he said.
"After talking to a lot of residents that urged me to do it, I felt I could do a good job," Archie said. "I believe from my experience and knowledge from being on the commission and trying to be objective and analytical in terms of looking at data, I can make Tarpon a stronger and better place to live."
Archie, a lifelong Tarpon Springs resident, served on the City Commission from 1996-2001 and had to step down due to term limits. He served as Mayor Pro-Tempore from 1999-2001. He was re-elected in March 2002 and served until 2008 when he again had to step down due to term limits.
In 2008, Archie launched an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the Pinellas School Board. He was back in the news in December when he was fired from his post as the executive director of a local non-profit organization after 15 years over allegations that a county agency wanted him gone. The allegations were found to be false and he was rehired a few months later.
Archie said he promises to continue to be a good steward of the city's money and to make sure that the city remains financially sound.
"It is my belief that every resident, whether here for one year or for 50, deserves equal treatment and service," Archie said.
The mayor's office is being vacated by Beverley Billiris due to term limits. She has served two three-year terms. Billiris is running for a seat on the County Commission. That election consists of a primary in August and general election in November 2010.
"David Archie has been an outstanding commissioner and vice mayor and will be an outstanding candidate," Billiris said. "He certainly has the experience, but I'm not endorsing either candidate. I'm just speaking on what I know about the man."
Francis Matthew King, a 33-year-old lawyer, father of two and the chairman of Tarpon Springs Board of Adjustments, also has thrown his name in the ring for mayor. King said he has the ability to lead the city to grow in a smart direction while focusing on its small businesses and historic character.
King and Archie have been down this road before. In 2005, Archie defeated King for a seat on the City Commission.
"We will have a good debate about which direction we want the city to go in and I'm looking forward to it," King said.
Archie is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Progress, an organization for which King once served as the attorney.
"I don't run against a person," Archie said. "I just offer my service to the people of Tarpon. I'm not concerned with which individual might be running for the seat."
Realtor Joseph Muzio has also announced that he will run for the commission seat being vacated by Commissioner Peter Dalacos due to term limits. Jeff Larsen, the city's Planning and Zoning Board chairman, has announced a run for the same seat.
Demorris A. Lee can reached at 445-4174 or [email protected]