|Mayor of Wilmington|
|Assumed office |
July 11, 2006
|Preceded by||Spence H. Broadhurst|
|Member of the Wilmington City Council|
December 2, 2003 – July 11, 2006
|Succeeded by||Joseph C. “J.C.” Hearne II|
Vassilios Avgerinos Saffo
1960 (age 62–63)
Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S.
|Alma mater||UNC-Wilmington (B.A.)|
|Profession||Real estate businessman|
Bill Saffo (born Vassilios Avgerinos Saffo; 1960) is an American politician and real estate businessman serving as the current mayor of Wilmington, North Carolina. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected to the Wilmington City Council in November 2003, serving in the role until his appointment as mayor in December 2006.
Consecutively winning every election since assuming Wilmington’s mayoralty, Saffo is the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, carrying out his eighth term as of 2023.
Personal life and education
Born Vassilios Avgerinos Saffo in 1960, the son of first-generation Greek immigrants, Saffo is a native Wilmingtonian. Graduating from John T. Hoggard High School in 1978, he went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Subsequently, Saffo began working at Hanover Realty Group, a real estate firm founded by his father, Doky Saffo, in 1965. In 2010, Hanover Realty merged with Seacoast Realty, Inc., a Coldwell Banker-affiliated company, since operating as Sea Coast Advantage.
Having met his future wife, Renee, the daughter of first-generation Greek immigrants and a Pittsburgh-area native, in February 1994 at his brother’s wedding, the couple would go on to develop a long-distance relationship that blossomed into an eventual marriage in October 1996. Although she earned a degree in elementary education from the University of Pittsburgh, Saffo worked only temporarily as a substitute teacher, as the marriage would see her relocate to Wilmington, where she would also begin work at the Saffo’s family real estate business. Immersed in Greek culture throughout her childhood, Saffo speaks Greek fluently and prides herself in her heritage. The Saffos did not yet have children as of February 2008.
As of May 2023, in addition to the mayoralty, Saffo continues to work as a real estate agent with Sea Coast Advantage. He is a member of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
Saffo first expressed interest in joining the Wilmington City Council to his wife in 2003, later successfully campaigning for a seat in November of the same year. In May 2006, nearing the end of Saffo’s first term, Mayor Spence Broadhurst announced his upcoming relocation to Greensboro and intention to resign his position. On May 10, Saffo was nominated to fill Broadhurst’s unexpired term by Mayor Pro-Tem James Quinn, a motion which was approved unanimously, with Saffo assuming the mayoralty on June 11, 2006.
During his first year in office, Saffo consolidated the city's water and sewage departments; initiated a review of the salaries of municipal employees, cautioning voters that fair salaries would require higher taxes; and began to investigate the economic potential of using revenue from the State's hotel room tax to build a new convention center, with construction underway by 2009. The convention center, which opened in 2010, is regarded as having been successful in expanding the city's convention and tourism business.
As mayor, he helped usher in the age of digital television on September 8, 2008, when Wilmington became the first city in the United States to switch over from the previous analog television platform.
Having won every mayoral election since his appointment in 2006, Saffo became Wilmington’s longest-serving mayor after he again won reelection on November 7, 2017, surpassing the record set in 1937 by Walter H. Blair, who held the office for 11 years. As of 2023, Saffo is serving his eighth consecutive term as mayor.
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- ^ Spicer-Sidbury, Penelope, City Clerk (June 11, 2006). City Council Meeting Minutes of June 11, 2006 (Report). City of Wilmington, N.C. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
- ^ Mazzolini, Chris (September 19, 2007). "Bill Saffo: Putting priority on partnership". StarNews. Wilmington, N.C.: Gannett. ProQuest 285508988. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
- ^ Gannon, Patrick (February 11, 2009). ""Beam signing" indicates there's no turning back on Convention Center". StarNews. Wilmington, N.C.: Gannett. ProQuest 285685896. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
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- ^ Schatz, Amy; Johnson, Fawn (September 9, 2008). "Digital-TV Switch Is Tested". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
- ^ Giovannelli, Marina (September 8, 2008). "The Digital Television Switch is On". WHQR. Wilmington, N.C.: Friends of Public Radio, Inc. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
- ^ James, Andrew (November 8, 2017). "Saffo makes history with another election win; Barnett to join council incumbents". WWAY. Wilmington, N.C.: Morris Multimedia. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
- ^ Buckland, Tim (November 7, 2017). "Saffo headed to victory". StarNews. Wilmington, N.C.: Gannett. Retrieved May 10, 2023.