Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Politics

Departing commissioner eyes 2015 race for Tarpon Springs mayor

TARPON SPRINGS — On his final day as a city commissioner, Chris Alahouzos made an announcement.

"It is my intention to continue in public service, especially with an eye on the 2015 mayor's race," Alahouzos said.

The proclamation stunned, well, nobody.

Alahouzos has been known to covet the city's top elected post for years. He termed out as commissioner this week after two consecutive terms.

As commissioners said a farewell to Alahouzos on Tuesday, they praised him for his dedication to public service. Then they praised him more after he announced his plans to return to City Hall.

Commissioner David Banther, who was sworn in Tuesday to Alahouzos' former seat, said he'd have big shoes to fill.

"Vice Mayor Alahouzos was a model public servant and I hope to emulate that," he said.

In Tarpon Springs, the mayor chairs City Commission meetings and acts as the city figurehead at ribbon cuttings and other events. The city manager, hired by the commission, runs the city government.

Alahouzos said it's too soon to plan specifics of a mayor's race that is two years away. But if elected, he would use the position to promote public transportation, energy and diversifying Tarpon Springs' economy, which relies heavily on tourism.

More specifically, he said, he wants Tarpon Springs to install a bus system so elderly people can get around without having to drive.

"If you look at it from an economic standpoint, a better transportation system would allow those people to get out and spend that money on local businesses," Alahouzos said.

Alahouzos also recently held the title of vice mayor, meaning he ran commission meetings if Mayor David Archie was absent. On Tuesday, the commission unanimously selected Commissioner Susan Slattery to assume that role.

Contact Brittany Alana Davis at [email protected] or 850-323-0353. To write a letter to the editor, visit tampabay.com/letters.

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