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Bob Hackworth Has 'Passion for Good Government'

Former mayor Bob Hackworth says he's fiscally responsible and passionate about Dunedin. He is challenging Mayor Dave Eggers in the 2012 election.

Bob Hackworth is no stranger to Dunedin politics.

Hackworth, 57, stepped down voluntarily after serving seven years from 2002 to 2009 as mayor, he said, because he felt satisfied with his contribution to the community.

Hackworth then made a failed bid for Pinellas County Commission in 2010 against longtime incumbent Susan Latvala.

He is back and challenging incumbent Dave Eggers because he's disappointed with the commission blaming the city's development on the recession and its inability to get things done.

Hackworth's latest mayoral bid is motivated by a lot of outside pressure, too.

“I have a passion for Dunedin," he said. "I have a passion for good government. I don’t necessarily have a passion for being mayor again.”

When he was mayor last decade he tried to model himself after the bold leaders of the past who fought to protect Caladesi and from development, he said. 

“I didn’t save Caladesi, but I saved ,” he said in reference to the controversial $7 million land purchase in 2008. “It’s part of that big-picture perspective that I’m trying to bring to the job.”

His decision to reenter the Dunedin political arena is based on a sincere evaluation of what the city needs in order to "keep moving forward," he said.

"We’re not the greatest yet," Hackworth said. "And yet, we’re on the cusp of greatness."

Hackworth preached fiscal responsibility but criticized the current leaders for their approach during tough economic times.

“The idea that we’re fiscally responsible is important, but it’s not a good-times-and-bad-times kind of discussion. I mean we’re always supposed to operate efficiently and effectively — whatever we’re doing,” he said. “We’re not supposed to operate more efficiently just because there’s less money in the economy.”

He said government should not be run in the same way a business or a family budget might. 

“Don’t forget we’re talking about a budget of $71 million. It’s easy to prioritize that $71 million to make sure things aren’t getting short-shifted, short-shafted,” he explained.

Hackworth pointed to the , saying it’s “insulting” the way that the “renowned institution” is turned down when it asks for a “little bit of help from the government.

Budget restraints were blamed for the city manager’s decision to , with more efficiency layoffs expected at the start of the new fiscal year Oct. 1.

Hackworth, married 32 years, moved to Dunedin when he was in grade school, and graduated from , where his teenage daughter goes to school. His son attends Dunedin Highland Middle School. Hackworth works in his family publishing company H&H Publishing, which produces collegiate-level textbooks and testing materials.

un-delightful in Dunedin September 12, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I will be happy to see changes in the current commission. Not only did they have the mess they made on Patricia, but also the nightmare they created at the corners of Pinehurst and Michigan, with the median that they put and then took out. It seems to me this commission doesn't work very well together. Unless of course they all agree with Dave Carson. He seems to be making alot of decisions on his own to heck with the real rules. That being said is why I will be voting for Heather Gracy and Bob Hackworth. It is time for a change we need to get the delightful back in Dunedin!
Tina White September 13, 2012 at 07:25 PM
hey Bob...rumor has it your are only running for Mayor to get your mug out there so you can run for county commissioner in 2 years.....are you going to leave us high and dry like you did last time you tried to run. Whats up with your articale your "don't have a paswsion for being mayor...well that says it all to me. Reguarding Weaver Park...it is our city manager that worked with many local and state agencyies to get the funding for this properity. DAVE HAS MY VOTE...
Bob Hackworth September 14, 2012 at 02:32 PM
hey Tina.. your rumor is dead wrong -- as is the characterization that I left you "high and dry" the last time. Happy for the opportunity to state, FOR THE RECORD, that I would serve each and every day of my full four-year term if elected! http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article987868.ece http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article768645.ece
James T Bryson September 21, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Looking forward to Bob Hackworth's return to the mayor's office in Dunedin. His integrity and competence will be refreshing.
waltallen September 23, 2012 at 06:42 PM
As an independent registered voter, I can't wait to vote for Bob. I have seen firsthand what a warrior he is for Dunedin's special qualities. Tina's comments are petty sniping and just plain wrong. The city manager did NOT make Weaver Park happen -that's laughable. Bob Hackworth made it happen with vision and determination over a lot of objections and short-sighted thinking - and some of those from people who now take credit for it. The city manager just worked out the details after Bob paved the way

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