Joe Ayoub Sworn In As New Mayor of Safety Harbor
The leadership torch in town was passed from Andy Steingold during the city commission meeting Monday night. Richard Blake officially took Ayoub's seat on the commission.
Joe Ayoub had one simple yet succinct thing to say when he first sat in the mayor's chair for the second half of the city commission meeting Monday night.
"It's just a couple of feet away, but somehow it feels different right now."
With those words, Ayoub, a 36-year-old accountant who has served on the commission since 2007, assumed the position previously held by Andy Steingold, who was forced to step down when he decided to run for circuit court judge last summer.
In addition to Ayoub's swearing in as mayor, Richard Blake was also appointed to the commission after winning the election in November for Ayoub's vacant Seat #1.
It was and eventful and entertaining night at City Hall, one that began with Steingold's children reading a touching invocation and the Espiritu Santo choir singing, and ended with the new-look commission approving the latest concept plan for the waterfront park.
But the agenda items took a back seat to the ceremonies and tributes that were held in honor of Steingold on the evening.
"It has been an honor and privilege to have served the citizens of Safety Harbor since 2005," Steingold said as an introduction to his farewell speech.
"It's not a sad night, rather it's celebratory and festive in regards to our past, our present and the future in which our new mayor and commission will lead us."
Steingold went on to list some of his accomplishments during his tenure as well as thank his family, fellow commissioners, city staff members and many of his political influences and partners from the last seven the years.
After he concluded his speech and the other commissioners had said a few words in his honor, Ayoub presented the longtime lawyer with a giant street sign that read "Steingold Court" as well as a ceremonial key to the city.
"It's been a great honor to be able to serve with you for the last six years," Ayoub told him.
"On behalf of the city commission, the residents of the city, we wish you a very sincere thank you for your committed service and and dedication to the city over the last eight years."
Steingold took the praise - and the gifts - with pride, but not before he let everyone in the packed room know how he felt about his time as mayor.
"I'd like to thank the citizens of Safety Harbor for this wonderful opportunity they have bestowed upon me," he said. "I have truly enjoyed my service to the community.
"It gives me a lot of life to serve the citizens of Safety Harbor. It has been truly great."