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.