Make us your home page

Airport chief received Sunshine Law memo in 2002

As long as eight years ago, Tampa International Airport executive director Louis Miller was made aware by his lawyers that meetings where staffers ranked bid proposals were subject to the state's open government law.

A review in 2002 by the airport's legal department determined that when a public agency's board assigned staff to study proposals and come back with recommendations, the meeting must be advertised and open the public. The document and a memo routing it to Miller were released late Wednesday in response to a public records request by the St. Petersburg Times.

If such meetings don't comply with the Sunshine Law, any contracts subsequently awarded by the board are void, wrote David Scott Knight, an attorney for the authority, in a January memo.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority last week had staffers rank proposals for two projects a second time because the agency failed to publish notification of the original meetings held in December.

Authority officials don't know yet if more meetings violated the law, said spokeswoman Brenda Geoghagan. Deputy director John Wheat and general counsel Gigi Rechel are expected to make a statement about the issue at the authority's board meeting this morning.

Board members also are scheduled to vote on accepting last week's resignation of Miller and appointing Wheat as interim executive director.

Miller, 61, said he wanted to leave after nearly 14 years to pursue other opportunities. He said his decision wasn't influenced by public criticism from board members in recent months.

Legal staff surveyed 14 Florida government agencies — including five airport authorities, the city of Tampa and Hillsborough and Pinellas counties — on their policies about selection committee meetings. Every one said they were subject to the Sunshine Law.

Steve Huettel can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3384.

Airport chief received Sunshine Law memo in 2002 03/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Seminole Heights restaurants face struggles amid killings, post-Irma

    Food & Dining

    SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — The neighborhood's hip circle of popular, well-regarded restaurants is feeling the squeeze in the wake of a recent killing spree. And the timing is rough.

    Ella's American Folk Art Cafe. Times files
  2. St. Pete-Clearwater holding food, supply drive for hurricane refugees


    CLEARWATER — St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Allegiant Air are holding a food and supply drive for the Hispanic Outreach Center in Pinellas County. The event, which will benefit refugees displaced by Hurricane Maria, will be held Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the airport at 14700 Terminal Blvd.

    St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and Allegiant Air are hosting a food and supplies drive Tuesday for refugees displaced by Hurricane Maria. | [Times file photo]
  3. Tallest building in Pinellas County in search of a new name

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — The name "Priatek" is gone from Pinellas County's tallest building, perhaps to be replaced by that of a much better-known company new to the Tampa Bay area.

    The Priatek name is off of downtown St. Petersburg's tallest building.
 [LARA CERRI  |   Times.  2015]
  4. Estuary wins pier design contest for the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway extension

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — And the winner is… Estuary.

    Voters overwhelmingly supported a pier design called Estuary for the $200-million extension of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa.
[Courtesy of AECOM]
  5. Amazon receives 238 proposals from places eager to become its 2nd headquarters


    NEW YORK — Amazon said Monday that it received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters.

    Earlier this month, an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Amazon says it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters. 
[AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]