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New contract proposal emerges for Tampa International CEO

Fear of losing Joe Lopano, TIA’s CEO, is the driving force behind talk of a new contract.

Fear of losing Joe Lopano, TIA’s CEO, is the driving force behind talk of a new contract.

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority is set to discuss a new contract Thursday for Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano.

The board voted last month to renegotiate his $315,000-a-year deal because it fears another airport might lure Lopano away.

Despite the objections of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who serves on the board, directors voted to explore ways to keep Lopano even though he's under contract until 2016.

Now the parameters of a new contract are starting to emerge.

Instead of giving Lopano a raise, airport spokeswoman Janet Zink said, the proposal calls for boosting the airport's contributions to Lopano's retirement plan. It would extend Lopano's contract for five years and, if he stays that long, pay an additional amount — about $100,000 or a third of his salary — toward his retirement plan.

The proposal was not finished on Tuesday, so the airport said it could not release it.

During the March 1 board meeting, Buckhorn opposed reopening Lopano's contract because the CEO already got two raises and two extensions in 2012.

But the board fears losing Lopano to another airport and considered offering him a noncompete clause. Lopano's former employer, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, is looking for a new CEO and his name was mentioned as a candidate by the media there.

The board on Thursday is also set to vote on Tampa International's new master plan.

New contract proposal emerges for Tampa International CEO 04/02/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 8:37pm]
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