Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Good grades may mean another raise for Tampa International CEO Joe Lopano

TAMPA — It's good to be Joe Lopano. But it may get a few thousand dollars better.

The CEO of Tampa International Airport, who makes $330,750 a year, could receive another raise this week.

If he were to receive the same 5 percent merit raise he got last year, Lopano would be in line for a $16,537 pay bump.

That's because Lopano's bosses at the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority recently gave him mostly glowing scores on his annual performance evaluation. They could propose a raise for the CEO when the board's August meeting is held Thursday.

"I think he's done an outstanding job on all counts," said board chairman Robert Watkins.

It was Watkins who proposed giving Lopano a 5 percent merit raise when he got good grades last year, and the board voted for it. But Watkins declined to say Monday if he'll propose a raise this year or for how much, saying the board should discuss it in public first.

In Lopano's three years and seven months on the job, TIA has expanded its international portfolio and now has nonstop routes to Cuba, Switzerland and most recently Panama, giving Tampa Bay its first direct flight to Latin America. In June, TIA added nonstop flights to Seattle.

Lopano also is overseeing a nearly $1 billion renovation and expansion of the airport by 2017.

The CEO was graded in 14 categories. In each one, he was evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. He received an average score based on that 1-to-5 scale. He also got a total score from each board member based on the sum of all 14 grades they gave him.

Lopano got an average score of 4.85 out of a maximum of 5 when he got last year's raise. This year's average score was 4.82.

In this year's evaluations, Lopano got perfect total scores of 70 from Watkins and board member Gary Harrod. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who also sits on the board, gave Lopano a total score of 68.

Lopano's lowest score this year came from Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist, who gave him a 62. He gave Lopano an average grade — 3 — in the areas of coordinating with trade associations and growing the airport's business portfolio.

But Crist said Monday that he doesn't have any problems with Lopano's performance.

"I don't give perfect scores," he said.

In fact, when Crist discussed his grades with Lopano last week, he said the CEO told him he had "no problem" with getting average grades from the county commissioner. Crist said that, to him, a 3 is still pretty good.

"That means he's meeting the expectations I have for the position and the person," Crist said. "But there are so many areas where he was excelling that I told him during the interview that this is probably one of the best performance reviews I've given anybody."

One complaint Crist shared with the Tampa Bay Times that wasn't in his performance evaluation was that Lopano could be more "transparent" in keeping the board informed about what's going on at TIA. Yet Crist also gave Lopano perfect scores in two categories judging how well the CEO communicates with the Aviation Authority board.

Only four board members graded the airport CEO because the fifth member abruptly resigned in May: Martin Garcia left after spending his 10 months on the board clashing with airport officials over funding projections and the TIA expansion plan. Garcia's replacement, East Hillsborough businessman Sam Rashid, will be sworn in Thursday.

If Lopano gets a raise on Thursday, it probably won't be as big a deal as his last couple of raises. In January 2012, after his first year, the Aviation Authority gave Lopano a $50,000 raise. Then in October of that year, the board also have him a merit raise of 5 percent, or $15,000.

Lopano also had three contract extensions to go with those two raises in a 20-month span. In September 2013, the board extended Lopano's contract to 2018 and set up a $500,000 bonus for him to collect if he continues to run the airport for the next five years.

The bonus was to give Lopano incentive to see TIA's expansion plan through to the end.

Contact Jamal Thalji at [email protected] or (813) 226-3404. Follow @jthalji.

Comments
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

VALRICO — During his final few days, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder moved to a hospice house, surrounded himself with belongings from home, swam in a pool and visited the beach in Ruskin.Wherever he went, the terminally ill Valrico man had family beside h...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Updated: 11 hours ago
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Published: 02/23/18
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Published: 02/23/18
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Published: 02/23/18
Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

A week after Bloomberg reported that Southeastern Grocers — the Jacksonville retailer that owns Winn-Dixie and other chains — could be closing up to 200 stores, the company announced it was selling off eight of its Louisiana locations.Texas’ Brooksh...
Published: 02/23/18