Tampa Mayor Buckhorn reminisces as he begins clearing his office

Image 1 of 6

It's not that Mayor Buckhorn wants to leave, but he has to. Bob Buckhorn has about three months left in office and then, but he's already packing up. 

He has amassed hundreds of awards, gifts, and knick-knacks, which reveal as much about the Tampa mayor as they do about the city he has led since 2011.

"You will see the scars of my cold, dead fingers getting pulled off this desk," he said. "I can walk away from here feeling really happy."

What's all over his walls is a perfect illustration of why he feels contented. City records show, since May of 2011, he has received 115 awards and gotten 151 gifts.

He says he does not display them for his ego, but rather as a reminder that there is more work to be done.

"If this was a sterile environment, I would feel like I was in a museum," Buckhorn said.

From the Riverwalk to the Vinik projects to broken sewers to responding to an alleged serial killer, the papers on his desk reveal a busy agenda.

"There are 50 cities out there that will try and steal the good things going on here," he said. "They want to steal the young people flocking here, steal the deals that are coming here, you have to be absolutely focused on making sure you are in the game every day."

Whether tickets to see the pope or pictures with presidents, the knickknacks that are on the walls will all share the same fate. It'll all be in moving boxes by May. 

If he could leave one thing for the next mayor, it would be this quote at the center of his desk: "The only easy day is yesterday."

"I want the next mayor to look at that and recognize you have to get up every day to compete," said Buckhorn. "You are not going to win them all, you will lose some but you have to get back up, get in the game, and you have to be absolutely driven to take this community to the next level."

Mayor Buckhorn says he might endorse one of the candidates running to replace him but won't do so until the general election on April 23. 

He isn't sure what his professional or political futures may hold, but he is sure that the next item on his agenda will be spending lots of time with family.