Make us your home page
Instagram

Divided board gives Tampa International CEO $50,000 raise, contract extension

TAMPA — The board that oversees Tampa International Airport on Thursday approved a $50,000 raise and one-year contract extension for CEO Joe Lopano.

The vote was 3-2, with the elected officials on the board voting no.

The changes were negotiated by Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board chairman Steve Burton, who said the raise reflects Lopano's strong performance in his first year.

Lopano actually deserved an even bigger raise, Burton said, based on the CEO salaries of comparable U.S. and international airports.

"He really should be paid more,'' Burton said, calling Lopano "a forthright man of honor and integrity.'' The contract extension, he said, is consistent with how the board has dealt with previous airport directors.

There was little discussion before the vote.

Hillsborough County Commissioner and board member Victor Crist praised Lopano — "Joe, I love you …'' he began — but said it was too early for a raise and contract extension.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also voted against the motion but did not speak. He previously said he also thought it was too early to reward Lopano with a raise and contract extension.

Lopano, who rejected the same raise three months ago because of the troubled economy, agreed to accept the money this time and thanked the board for its support.

Pressed about whether the economy had improved enough in three months to change his mind, Lopano simply said he was happy with the board's support and looked forward to focusing on attracting new flights to the airport. He was briskly led away as reporters pressed him to elaborate.

Lopano's total compensation will now be $355,000, just under what he was paid as executive vice president of marketing at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport before joining TIA.

Burton said he was sympathetic to the economic plight of many Floridians, but noted the airport is one of the biggest economic engines in the Tampa Bay area and Lopano is focused on creating jobs and improving the economy.

"There are people out of work and that's the main reason to turn this place around,'' he said.

Burton pointed to nonstop flights four days a week to Cuba that already have begun, and the twice-weekly flights to Zurich by Swiss carrier Edelweiss beginning in May as examples of Lopano's success. Both will mean millions of dollars in economic impact, he said.

And Lopano has vowed to attract more.

To accommodate increased international travel, the board unanimously agreed Thursday to spend $27.6 million to renovate Airside F, its main terminal for international travelers. The first phase would be completed by Nov. 30 and the final phase by the fall of 2013.

Divided board gives Tampa International CEO $50,000 raise, contract extension 01/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 10:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]