Business group wants Tampa Port Authority director to step down listen07/18/11 Kate Bradshaw
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The Port of Tampa is the biggest in Florida. The Tampa Port Authority says it has an economic impact of more than $8 billion. Still, a group of stakeholders wants to see the man at the helm step down. The group criticizes his ability to lead during an economic slump, though some at the Port Authority say the media is blowing the issue out of proportion.
The Port of Tampa Maritime Industries Association comprises stakeholder groups across the spectrum; everything from lawyers to people who repair ships. Tim Shusta is that organization’s president. He said the group would like to see Tampa Port Authority head Richard Wainio step down, and last week wrote a letter to the Port Authority Board Chair indicating just as much.
The letter sports a lengthy list of grievances. It sites the authority’s budget going from a $5 million surplus to a $1 million deficit over Wainio’s tenure. He also said the port director discourages public comment and won’t accept criticism. He said the economy’s negative impact on the port’s profits is a problem requiring creative leadership.
The Tampa Port Authority doesn’t see the association’s complaints as a pressing issue. Board chair Larry Shipp said they’ll take the letter into consideration just as they would with any public comment.
He said the comments will be considered as the board conducts a regular review of Wainio’s contract.
The board has a regular meeting Tuesday. This issue isn’t on the agenda, but it may be brought up during public comment.