Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mitch Perry Report - Does Lopano deserve more?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Joe Lopano has been one of the most dynamic leaders in the Tampa Bay community since being hired in 2010 to replace Louis Miller as the head of Tampa International Airport. Some of his strongest supporters include his bosses, the members of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. That support led Lopano to receiving a $50,000 raise and a contract extension a little over a year ago after just one year on the job.

A year later, the Authority will convene again tomorrow about boosting TIA's CEO once again.

That's because of concerns that Lopano might bolt if given the opportunity to Dallas-Fort Worth, where his name has been floated as a candidate for the top job there. Lopano previously served a executive vice president of marketing at DFW for 14 years and has deep ties to the area (two of his children still live there).

Lopano told the Tampa Tribune earlier this month that he has not been recruited for the job and he is not interested in applying. But that hasn't mollified his supporters, who fear that he may be seduced back to the Lone Star State.

That's why the Aviation Authority will meet for a special meeting tomorrow to discuss what to do next - and are talking about raising his salary once again. There are important voices who don't think this is appropriate - such as Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the editorial page of the Tampa Bay Times. But though both said a year ago that it was premature to reward Lopano for just doing his job, they may overruled again. This story is just starting to get interesting...

Speaking of the Times, we engaged in an e-mail exchange with reporter Alexandra Zayas yesterday, still the talk of the local journalism world after winning a major award earlier this week for her 2012 investigative series called "In God's Name."

The reaction to Rick Scott's announcement regarding Medicaid expansion is probably our favorite story of 2013 to date. Yesterday the governor issued out a press release quoting from newspaper editorials praising him for his decision, praise he continues to receive very little of from members of his own party.

And it's always fun to check out the annual rankings from National Journal of who are the most liberal and conservative members of Congress. In 2010 the D.C.-based publication ranked Tampa area Representative Kathy Castor the ninth most liberal member in Congress. What's happened to her? Now they say she's the 90th most liberal member.

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