“History will judge whether I was a good mayor for Thessaloniki,” outgoing mayor Yiannis Boutaris said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency released on Saturday, just two days before he is due to hand over the office to his successor, Konstantinos Zervas.
The ceremonies to swear in the new mayor and handover the mayorship will take place on Monday, in the municipal council chamber.
As he packed away his things in boxes, Boutaris said he had not in the least regretted his decision not to stand in the last local government elections after nine years in the mayor’s office, where his often unconventional approach generated publicity for Thessaloniki.
“Everyone started talking about the city and there were articles published,” he pointed out, while he highlighted his meetings with the former German Ambassador to Greece Jens Ploetner, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, historian Mark Mazower and British novelist Victoria Hislop as the most memorable in that time.
He predicted that policing will be one of the thorniest issues for his successor, since the municipal police has fewer staff than are needed to solve traffic problems.
As for his plans after August 30, when he departs from the town hall, Boutaris said that he will be installed in his new office set up in the space for the Holocaust Museum and then visit his vineyards for the harvest.
“I also want to spend a few days having a holiday, a complete rest. I will miss daily life in the town hall and that is only human. But I believe that I will be over this in a week or so because I will create other jobs,” he said.