Friday, February 16, 2018
Business

Joseph Diaco will not seek another term on Hillsborough aviation board

TAMPA — Dr. Joseph Diaco will not seek another term on the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority's governing board.

In a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday, Diaco said that he wanted to thank the community for "the honor of serving them." He also said he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren.

Diaco's is the second seat on the five-member board that Scott will get to fill. On Tuesday, the governor appointed Tampa attorney Martin Garcia to the board to fill the seat left by former chairman Steve Burton, who died on April 21. Garcia worked on Attorney General Pam Bondi's 2010 campaign and Herman Cain's campaign in 2012.

"My decision is based upon your outstanding choice of Martin Garcia to fill the tremendous void left by Steve Burton, and the remarkable candidates you have to select from to serve the Board," Diaco wrote.

This month Robert Watkins was elected chairman to replace Burton and Diaco was elected vice chairman. Diaco's term expires Monday and he had to reapply for the position, but there was no guarantee the governor would reappoint him. Diaco and Burton were both appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist to the aviation authority in 2009.

During Diaco's term, the board helped bring in Joe Lopano as airport CEO and in April voted to approve the airport's new $2.5 billion master plan.

"Dr. Diaco helped lead Tampa International Airport through a time of significant change," said Lopano in a prepared statement. "I greatly appreciate the support he showed me and my team during my first years as the airport CEO."

Diaco's departure leaves 21 applicants for the job. Another prominent Hillsborough County Republican, fundraiser Sam Rashid, put his name in on Wednesday. The board doesn't meet again until July 11. The governor's office said there is no timetable for filling the position.

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