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One commissioner's request for more time to hire a search firm fails to find support.

The most critical decision the Tampa Port Authority faces is to find a new leader to replace departing Tampa Port director and CEO Richard Wainio.

"This is one of the most important things we're going to do," commissioner Sandra Murman said at Tuesday's monthly board meeting.

But when commissioner Patrick Allman proposed slowing down the selection process, he got no support from his fellow board members. The board is looking for an executive search firm to conduct a national search for the next director. Bid requirements went out Friday and are due back June 28. Allman said that's not enough time to pick the right firm to find the right person for the job.

He proposed pushing the deadline back 60 days so the board can convene a workshop and publicly debate exactly what they're looking for in the next port director and CEO.

"How can somebody pitch us if they don't even know what we're looking for?" Allman said. "I'd like to have a workshop as soon as possible where the rest of us decide: What do we want? Are we looking for a sales and marketing guy? Are we looking for an administrative type?

"Let's let these firms know now so they can properly pitch us."

But no one seconded the motion. It died without comment.

Murman, a Hillsborough County commissioner, said 60 days is too long. If the board is unsatisfied with the search firms, she said, they can restart the clock and solicit more bids.

"We realize what an important decision this is," Murman said.

Port counsel Charles Klug said he expects that the board will eventually discuss what they're looking for in the next port director. Wainio, 62, announced his departure this month. He has served since 2005.

The board on Tuesday also elected a new chairman: William "Hoe" Brown was unanimously elected to replace Lawrence Shipp, who stepped down after five years. Brown is president of J.B. Carrie Properties Inc. and chairman of the USF Iron Bulls, an elite group of athletic fundraisers. Brown was nominated by fellow board member Stephen Swindal. Brown, in turn, then nominated Swindal to be vice chairman. Swindal is the chairman of Marine Towing.

Klug told the board that there were no new developments in the efforts to buy Channelside Bay Plaza. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is the sole bidder for the complex, which was taken over by the Irish government after the previous owners defaulted on a $27 million loan.

Contact Jamal Thalji at or (813) 226-3404.