Tampa, Florida --The 10 News Investigators have learned the Tampa Port Authority is trying to skirt the Florida Sunshine law by selecting a new Port Director to replace former director Richard Wainio .
The Port hired a national search firm, Boyden Global Executive Search, to find candidates and it appointed a five member search committee to find a new director.
The search committee includes Board Chair Hoe Brown; Arthur Savage from the shipping agent A.R. Savage; Vince Dolan who is retiring as the head of Progress Energy Florida and is Chair of the Tampa Bay partnership; Bill Starkey, a former G.T.E. executive who also severed as interim Port Director before Wainio was hired; and Gordon Gillette the president of TECO.
Although Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who is on the Port Board, has been quoted saying the search will be conducted in the Sunshine, the members of the search committee will meet individually and in separate rooms with five candidates on Saturday November 10- and the public is not invited.
If the search committee had met the candidates together, the meeting would be subject to Florida's Board Sunshine Law, but this way they can meet in secret and keep the public in the dark.
It also means the candidates applying for the several hundred thousand dollar port director job won't have their names published unless they make the final cut.
Sources tell the 10 News Investigators that Port Chair Hoe Brown and the search firm worked out the secret deal.
While the meeting doesn't legally violate the Sunshine Law, some are saying it violates the spirit and creates a feeling that the "good old boy network" is still alive and well at the Port.
It seems ironic to others because one of the reasons some involved with the Port soured on Wainio is because he appeared to be operating the Port on that same good old boy system.
When we asked the Port about the meeting, they said the Port would never violate the Sunshine law, and that the search committee will meet to review and shortlist candidates in a public meeting this Monday, November 12.