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Bob Hackworth on the Patch Podium: Experience

Each of the mayoral candidates took a moment on the Patch Podium to explain — in his own words — how his life experience will contribute to the job, if elected.

As part of our continuing coverage of Dunedin's upcoming elections, we are launching a question-of-the-week feature leading up to the election. This is the candidates' opportunity to answer some questions that might be on residents' minds, right here on the Patch Podium. 

This week, we asked:

  • How will your past work and life experience contribute to your role on as mayor, should you be elected?

Bob Hackworth responds:

As the former mayor of Dunedin and two-term commissioner, I worked hard to live up to the ideal of the part-time citizen legislator who brings his life and work experience to bear in the service of his community. My decision-making while in elected office was and will again be guided by both my business management and entrepreneurial skills and by the values I hold dear as a family man with deep roots in this community. 

Experience in business is without question valuable; budget oversight, fiscal accountability and long-term financial planning are a big part of the job.  But while there are many experiences running a small business that are translatable and useful as one moves between the private sector and public service, there are many that do not apply. 

For example, the business of business is business and the goal of business is to earn a profit from the provision of goods and services. I run an educational publishing business that is profitable. The business of government however is service, well managed and not wasteful of taxpayer dollars but not for profit; instead, for the continuing benefit of all its citizens. The goal is a great community.

While my life and work experience assisted me in the job of mayor of Dunedin and will again, I adhere to the very specific job description found in our charter.  The elected mayor and commissioners are tasked with the making of broad policy, oversight of the professional city manager and staff, and accountability to the people for the success or failure of those tasks. The city manager and staff are tasked with providing the mayor and commission with objective recommendations on policy matters based on their professional expertise as well as with operating the day-to-day mechanics of government.

Elected officials can easily make the mistake of believing that their election has endowed them with the expertise to do the job the trained experts should be doing, and wrongheaded decisions are usually the result. Mayor Eggers’ vote last spring to remove fluoride from Dunedin’s drinking water supply, despite public health experts’ testimony and scientific evidence, is one of these. I would have voted with the experts.  

My wife Gwynne and I feel blessed to be raising our two children here in Dunedin, in the same small town where I grew up, and I'm passionate about making sure that their future in our community will also be bright. That’s the most important life experience I bring to the job. I’m committed, for them and for all of us in this together, to that ideal of a citizen legislator with a passion for good government and a vision for keeping Dunedin the exceptional community we all love. 

Related Coverage:

  • Bob Hackworth Has 'Passion for Good Government'
  • Former Mayor to Challenge Eggers in City Election
  • Eggers Vs Hackworth for City Mayor

See also, Mayor Dave Eggers' response.

Anti-Westboro Baptist September 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM
With that answer you just won my vote!
John Lewis September 18, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Some of Bob's best traits are courage and leadership. One of many examples that comes to mind is his support for the purchase of the Weaver Park property. When this was first proposed at an initial asking price over $20 million, many people including commissioners were opposed. Bob's response was to wait and let the appraisal process work its course. After a couple of appraisals, tough negotiating and some excellent staff work we secured this once in a lifetime property for around $6 million paid with grants. Throughout the ups and downs of this process Bob counseled patience to allow for time to reveal all the facts. Many were opposed at the beginning and Bob demonstrated the leadership and courage to see it through to a great conclusion. I truly believe that if not for Bob's vision and courage we would not have a Weaver Park today. Go Bob.

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