TIA chief Joe Lopano could get another raise, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn calls it ridiculous!

1:09 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
Tampa International Executive Director Joe Lopano
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Tampa, Florida -- The Hillsborough Aviation Authority is talking about renegotiating Tampa International Executive Director Joe Lopano's contract, which could result in another raise.

The board made the decision over the objections of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who said it was ridiculous and a joke that the board would consider changing anything in the contract, which has been already been amended and extended.

Last year the Board gave Lopano a $50,000 raise as well as a $15,000 merit raise. The TIA Chief now makes $315,000.

Board Chairman Steve Burton floated the idea of amending Lopano's contract because of reports -- including ours -- that Lopano was considered a leading candidate to go back Dallas and become the airport head there.  

Lopano, who worked in Dallas for 14 years before coming to Tampa International has said he will talk to anyone and joked, " That includes the New York Yankees if they want me to play third base."

The current Dallas-Ft. Worth International Head is retiring in September. The job now pays $400,000.

Buckhorn refused to go along with the board plan to explore modifying Lopano's contract and said, "A contract is a contract. If he wants to leave, don't let the door hit him in the butt."

While Lopano's contract runs through 2016, the truth is that in effect, it's only a 90 day contract. Either side can void it with 90 days notice. However, if the the Aviation Authority cancels the contract without cause, it has to pay Lopano 20 weeks' salary,  which amounts to $121,000.

Lopano said if he were to accept any restrictions on his ability to cancel the contract, he would expect something -- including increased remuneration -- in return.

The board will hire an outside legal firm to explore possibilities and hire an attorney for Lopano to use as well.

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