BELLEAIR BEACH – Dr. Nicolas Pavouris, a leader of a group of council members elected in March on a platform of change and “reshaping of city government,” has resigned.
A letter from Pavouris to City Manager Lynn Rives dated Aug. 9 gave no reason for his decision to leave council.
“I am writing to inform you that I am resigning as city councilman of Belleair Beach, effective immediately. I would like to thank the city as well as the residents of Belleair Beach for giving me the opportunity to serve,” the letter said.
In an interview with the Bee on Aug. 18, Pavouris said, “I have appreciated my time serving on the council.”
He had no further comment on the reason for his resignation.
Citing the recent changes made in city government by the recently elected council members, Pavouris said, “I believe we have gotten the city on the right track, with our focus on best practices, strategic planning, metrics and other priorities we have initiated to move the city forward. I believe we have accomplished quite a bit in just a few months’ time, and I’m ready to pass the mantle on to others,” Pavouris said.
Pavouris had taken a leadership role on the seven-member council, after having been the top vote-getter in the March election and then being named vice mayor. Three of the four new council members, including Pavouris, live in the Bellevue Island Estates neighborhood off of 22nd Street, where residents have long sought the undergrounding of utilities.
The four had made it a priority to get the wires put underground at last, and that project is now moving forward. Besides the utility undergrounding, the group of four has also pushed to bring what they call “best practices” to city government, and taken actions that they say will benefit the city. Pavouris proposed and had gotten council approval for monthly work sessions on best practices, strategic planning, finances, budget and revenue strategies, infrastructure and beautification, and safety, security and code enforcement.
Pavouris has assumed leadership positions in city government, even recently accepting a nomination by fellow council member Glenn Gunn to replace Mayor Leslie Notaro as the city’s representative to the Suncoast League of Cities, a position normally held by the mayor. Notaro had wanted to remain as the city’s delegate to the League, but Pavouris prevailed in a 4-to-3 vote. Pavouris’ decision to give up his council seat was a surprise. There will likely be a contest to fill Pavouris’ seat, and the frequent 4-to-3 vote splits between the new council members and the other members is now 3-to-3.
Council Member Wanda Schwerer told the Bee she hopes council can decide on someone to replace Pavouris who is impartial, and will take an independent look at the issues as they come up. Schwerer said the replacement choice could come down to a coin toss, which has been used as a tiebreaker in the past when a consensus could not be reached. Candidates wanting to apply for the open council seat should fill out an application form that is available at City Hall and on the city’s website at www.cityofbelleairbeach.com. The deadline for turning in applications is Sept. 14. The person chosen by council will serve until the next election in March 2019.