The passing of the torch at the mayoral inauguration was a seamless affair replete with patriotism, prayers, a poem and plenty of good will. Mayor Pam Iorio, 43, was gracious and generous in her praise for her predecessor, Dick Greco, and his wife, Linda.
As for Greco, 69, he wasn’t waxing as sentimental as his queue of well-wishers, a number of whom were teary-eyed. “It feels good,” he said about turning over City Hall to a successor. “That’s what you feel when you did the best you could.”
But for all the collegiality, there was something decidedly incongruous about the inauguration (and the swearing-in of city council) that drew a crowd of some 1,300 to the Tampa Convention Center. For the first time in memory, Dick Greco was not the flesh-pressing focal point at a local political gathering.
Don’t get me wrong. He had his receiving line and Greco was vintage, gregarious Greco ’til the last hug, back pat, memorabilia photo and “Call me” refrain. But Iorio was the mayoral magnet this day, encircled 10-deep with family, friends, political VIPs, generic glad handers and media.
Greco had walked in as the mayor and walked out as the former mayor. His day had begun at City Hall; the following one would begin at the offices of the DeBartolo Family Foundation.
It was the end of an era. But not of public service.