Make us your home page

$50,000 raise, contract extension proposed for Tampa International Airport CEO

TAMPA — The chairman of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority is proposing a $50,000 raise for CEO Joe Lopano and a one-year contract extension.

While extending his contract to Jan. 1, 2015, is new, the raise is the same one that a majority of the board offered and Lopano rejected in October.

Lopano said at the time he would not accept the raise because of the tough economy. But this time he is prepared to take the money, despite opposition from the board's two elected officials, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and County Commissioner Victor Crist, who say it's too soon. Lopano took over a year ago.

The raise would lift his total compensation to $355,000, just under what he was paid at his previous job as executive vice president of marketing at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

A majority of the board favors the raise, but it is unclear if the same is true for the contract extension.

Crist said he was surprised by the proposed extension and finds it "blindsiding.'' He does not support it.

"That shouldn't have even been a consideration until we are at the table negotiating a new contract," Crist said. "That's something that you start looking at six months before this one starts to lapse. … A deal's a deal.''

Crist said he remains opposed to the raise but open to extending the $3,000 monthly housing allowance that expired Dec. 31.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn also opposes the raise and the contract extension. "It's just too early,'' he said. "I think he's done a good job, his potential is significant, but I want to see proof. I want to see results.''

Board member Robert Watkins said he will reserve final judgment until he hears from other board members at Thursday's meeting but is inclined to support both the raise and the contract extension.

"I think by all accounts, Joe has done a fabulous job,'' Watkins said.

All five board members have praised Lopano, giving him a nearly perfect rating on his annual evaluation last year. They singled out his energy, drive and focus on luring more international and West Coast flights to Tampa.

Matching his previous salary has been a goal of Lopano's since he took the reins at TIA after the abrupt departure of longtime TIA head Louis Miller, who now runs Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Board chairman Steve Burton negotiated the raise, details of which were released Tuesday. The board is scheduled to vote Thursday. Lopano is expected to accept the latest salary offer, but declined to comment.

Along with the raise, Burton proposed changing Lopano's contract to clarify that he would be compensated for moving his household belongings from storage to a home he is buying.

The contract also would be changed to reduce the amount of severance Lopano could receive, from no more than 18 months to a maximum of 20 weeks. The severance clause reflects a change in state law, though it was passed after Lopano's contract was approved.

$50,000 raise, contract extension proposed for Tampa International Airport CEO 01/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New stores coming to Tyrone Square Mall, like Bath & Body Works


    Tyrone Square Mall will welcome a half dozen new stores, like Bath & Body Works and MidiCi's The Neapolitan Pizza Company, this summer.

  2. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach


    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  3. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall' bill


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    TAMPA — Record rainfall in Los Angeles ultimately may end Tampa Bay's drought of hosting the Super Bowl.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  5. As St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit broadens its business, it shrinks its name to Jabil


    St. Petersburg's Fortune 500 company, Jabil Circuit, informally tossed aside the "Circuit" in its name some time ago. That's because circuit board manufacturing, the company's core business for decades, has been squeezed out by a broader business agenda ranging from consumer packaging to supply chain management.

    Jabil Circuit informally dropped "Circuit" from its marketing material and signage, like at its St. Petersburg headquarters, years ago. Now it's official.
[Times file photo]