Days before Tampa port director Richard Wainio learns if he will remain in the job, his bosses gave him good grades on his performance. But not the top scores he received last year.
On Tuesday, the Tampa Port Authority governing board is scheduled to decide whether to continue his employment beyond his contract expiration in March.
A group representing port users has called for the board to let Wainio go. The Port of Tampa Maritime Industries Association has cited significant declines in cargo tonnage and ship arrivals at the port since 2006.
The group also said in a July 15 letter that Wainio "is viewed as being unwilling or reluctant to solicit or accept suggestions, feedback or input in the development of port strategy, growth and operations."
Wainio says the organization doesn't represent most tenants and port customers.
Four of seven board members handed in the latest performance appraisals of Wainio on Friday.
Members William "Hoe" Brown and Carl Lindell rated his overall performance "outstanding," the highest possible. Member Stephen Swindal and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, gave Wainio "excellent" ratings.
In December, Wainio received outstanding ratings from all members, except then-Mayor Pam Iorio.
She rated the director between outstanding and excellent.
"Mr. Wainio has provided stable leadership during a tough economic environment," wrote Swindal, chairman of Marine Towing of Tampa. "Some stakeholders are dissatisfied with the communication and style of the director. Hopefully, these concerns will be addressed head-on."
Buckhorn wrote that the port appears to be doing well in spite of the sour economy. But he noted "ongoing issues with the maritime users which need to be addressed."
Wainio, 61, has held the port's top post since 2005. He earns $251,118 a year. Board members have until Sept. 30 to decide if they want him to stay past March 5, 2012.
Contact Steve Huettel at [email protected] or (813) 226-3384.