TAMPA — The vice chairman of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, Robert Watkins, was named the new chairman on Thursday. He replaces former chairman Steve Burton, who died April 21. Watkins is the founder of his own accounting firm, Robert Watkins and Co.
The board elected another member, Dr. Joseph Diaco, the new vice chair. Gov. Rick Scott has not yet appointed anyone to fill Burton's seat, leaving the five-member board short.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist round out the rest of the members. Diaco's term expires next month. He has reapplied but said that it's up to the governor whether he should return. There have been 18 applicants hoping to be appointed to replace Burton. Most notable on the list are:
• Former Hillsborough County Commissioner and Tampa City Council member Tom Scott, a pastor and registered Democrat.
• Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Arthur "Chip" Diehl III, who served in two top functions at MacDill Air Force Base: former commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing and a top official at U.S. Central Command.
• A.D. "Sandy" MacKinnon, Tampa businessman and husband of former County Commissioner Dottie Berger MacKinnon.