Former D.C. auditor Otis H. Troupe said yesterday he was "surprised and flattered" when he returned from New York late Sunday and found signs plastered throughout the city touting him for mayor.

"I don't know anything about them," said Troupe, who left city government after Council Chairman David A. Clarke (D) decided not to reappoint him to a third term as auditor. "I called the {phone} number on the signs and asked them to contact me. I don't know how they got the signs. I'm a big guy, but you could have knocked me over with a stick."

Troupe, 48, left his city position at the end of March after serving 13 years as auditor. He said he has been considering several careers and will add a candidacy for mayor to that list.

The native Washingtonian graduated from McKinley Tech High School and has degrees from Yale, Boston College and Columbia University. He described himself as a "conservative Democrat" and said that if he runs for mayor, he will run to win.

"I'm glad people still think of me and think I can do something," he said. "I'm not ready to make this decision. It is worthy of consideration."

When The Washington Post contacted the Draft Otis Troupe Committee early yesterday, a woman who identified herself as Shirley White said that it was the right number but that she did not have information about the campaign. She said the committee organizer could be reached after 5 p.m., but there was no answer yesterday evening.

Council member John Ray (D-At Large), who has announced his candidacy for mayor, accused the committee of being a political tool for Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly.

"My understanding is both the mayor and Marion Barry are trying to convince people to get in the race, and I would not be surprised if the mayor is behind this," Ray said. "The more people in the race, the better it is for them. There's no secret around town that the mayor wants all the people in that she can get, including Marion Barry."

Unnia Pettus, the mayor's spokeswoman, said, "That's absolutely ridiculous. Mayor Kelly has not discussed the upcoming elections with any announced or potential candidates." Barry declined to comment, except to say he had seen the Troupe signs over the weekend.

Though Troupe said he was not aware of the Draft Otis Troupe Committee, which has a phone number printed at the bottom of the poster, he acknowledged that he had been approached on several occasions by people asking whether he was interested in a mayoral bid. But, he said, he did not regard those as serious inquiries.

Troupe was appointed auditor for one term by then-Council Chairman Arrington Dixon and for a second term in 1987 by Clarke. Clarke, who was elected in September to complete the term of the late John A. Wilson, decided to replace Troupe with Russell A. Smith, who served for eight years as secretary to the council.