INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Longtime Indian Rocks Beach City Commissioner Phil Hanna has said farewell to public office, with his 14-year career as a local lawmaker coming to an end on March 28.

Hanna, a former TV and advertising executive first elected in 2009, attended the investiture ceremony for newly elected commissioners Denise Houseberg and Lan Vaughan. There he was recognized by Mayor Cookie Kennedy, City Manager Gregg Mims and his fellow commissioners for his long years of service to the city.

Hanna said the occasion was “melancholy and bittersweet,” while adding he knew “it was time” to step away from local government and focus on his many other passions, including cooking and photography. 

“I like to compare my time on the commission to a film,” he said. “The 14 years that I have served are made up of frames, like a film. Most of the frames I’m very proud of, but there’s a couple of frames I would’ve like to have done better. But I believe you have to judge a film on the entirety of those chapters, or frames, and I like to think my tenure overall was positive.”

After the incumbent Houseberg and political newcomer Vaughan were sworn in, Kennedy, Mims and his fellow commissioners showered Hanna with gifts and accolades.

“Phil is leaving us after 14 years on the commission, and he has worked in so many different capacities,” Kennedy said, adding Hanna has “always had the best interests of the community” in mind and “cares about this community.”

 The mayor added: “You are going to be truly missed. We love you, and I love you.”

When Vaughan took a moment to thank Phil “for talking me into taking this position,” Hanna displayed his sense of humor by quickly replying, “See me in a year.”

Commissioner Joe McCall said he wished Hanna, an unabashed foodie who loves working on his Green Egg grill, “would show me how to cook.”

Mims and Kennedy then presented Hanna with an engraved crystal plaque, a city flag signed by all the employees and a framed photo before allowing him to say a few final words.

Recalling his long-ago first swearing-in ceremony, Hanna said someone asked him at the time when he would be sworn in. His reply: “I get sworn in on the 24th and I get sworn at on the 25th!”

But Hanna added that his time in office has been terrific. 

“It’s a team effort,” Hanna said, noting the city has “great management, great commissioners, and most importantly, we have great citizens.”

He added: “When there’s a crisis or a problem — whether its short-term rentals or whatever — we all band together. We work together, and we all pull together. And usually, we win when you do stuff like that. Thank you.”

With that Hanna loaded up his gifts, paused for a few photos and waved as he walked out of City Hall.