After insisting for years he would never seek higher office, Penticton Coun. John Vassilaki hinted this week he's considering a run for the mayor's chair in November's municipal election.
In answering a series of questions posed to members of city council by the Penticton Herald, Vassilaki admits the thought has crossed his mind.
Over the past eight months, the 11-year council veteran has found himself at odds with colleagues, first refusing to attend the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Vancouver, because of costs, and later voting against the city budget, believing a two per cent tax increase was too much.
"The possibility of running for council again is great," he said. "For mayor, I'd have to give it great thought and it's a hard decision to make.
"A lot of work is dependent on my family business. We employ a lot of people, and someone needs to take care of them."
Vassilaki suggested that family considerations also would influence his decision.
"My grandkids are ages 10, eight and two years, and they mean the world to me," he said. "I feel 10 years younger every time they come to visit."
Vassilaki said it's possible to hand many of his business responsibilities over to his sons.
The former restaurateur and nightclub owner now mostly manages rental properties. His wife operates a small liquor store in Penticton. Vassilaki and Sons recently put in a bid to buy the Royal Canadian Legion building in Penticton and lease it back to the members. The final decision rests with B.C. Yukon Command.
Vassilaki said he's regularly approached by people who say he should run for mayor and that he's humbled. He was voted Newsmaker of the Year for 2013 by Penticton Herald readers, edging out four others including hotelier David Prystay and Mayor Garry Litke, who scored a landslide victory in a municipal byelection in September.
"It's not that I wouldn't be able to do the job," Vassilaki said. "I could do a great job as mayor . . . better than anyone I know.
"I'm too busy right now trying to do work for the community, and I will make a decision in September. We have other issues at the present time . . . Eckhardt Ave. (a failed hockey dormitory project), the PHA (a dispute between the city and hoteliers) and the (urban) deer, because I feel we were spending money recklessly."