TAMPA — Hillsborough Commission Chairman Mark Sharpe has signed on as a consultant for the Tampa Innovation Alliance, a part-time job he expects to go full-time after he steps down from the board in November.
The alliance represents four major players in North Tampa — the University of South Florida, Busch Gardens, Moffitt Cancer Center and Florida Hospital — that want to see economic development in the area that has historically struggled with blight.
A few weeks ago, USF president Judy Genshaft and leaders of the other organizations approached Sharpe about becoming its executive director, Sharpe said Wednesday. He agreed to take on a position that previously did not exist.
"I'm intent on … creating a viable entity which will make that area a destination for people who want to live, work and play there," Sharpe said. "I'll either succeed, or fail badly. I hope I succeed."
Sharpe started as a consultant June 1, earning $6,000 per month, he said. He makes $95,523 as a county commissioner, with an extra $10,000 this year for being chairman. He has not negotiated his full-time terms, which should start Dec. 1.
Sharpe, 54, will have to recuse himself from some commission talks and votes on the university area, he said. First elected to the commission in 2004, he is out of office this year due to term limits.