Tampa airport CEO awarded 5 percent raise [Tampa Tribune, Fla.]
(Tampa Tribune (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 05--After increasing Tampa International Airport Chief Executive Officer Joe Lopano's annual base pay by 5 percent to $330,750, the aviation authority board voted Thursday to consider restructuring its performance evaluation for the CEO position.
The idea is to devise some specific measurables tied to financial and other performance goals, rather than current, vague factors such as "responsible for exploring growth strategies."
When the most recent of Lopano's three raises takes effect Oct. 1, he will have received $80,750 in base salary increases since becoming CEO in January 2011.
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board in April also approved a pay package amendment with about $525,000 for Lopano if he remains at the airport for the next five years.
The former Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport executive vice president also receives 33 days paid time off, a car allowance, health and welfare benefits and a retirement contribution.
Lopano has consistently achieved "exceptional to outstanding" ratings from his board. The Tampa Bay business community and others have embraced his strategies to create an incentive program to help recruit international flights and advance a 20-year master plan update.
"(I) feel Mr. Lopano is the best director in the country," board member Joe Diaco wrote in his Aug. 26 evaluation. "He has showed loyalty and competence. We have increased profits without decreasing airport services."
However, board member Martin Garcia, who was appointed in late June, said the evaluation form lacks specific performance objectives with base-line performance standards and corresponding measurable performance goals.
"The 15 point criteria is qualitative in nature with no financial specifics," Garcia pointed out in submitting his first evaluation, eschewing offering numerical rankings based on his brief tenure.
Board members will meet individually with Lopano to suggest modified performance standards. After Lopano drafts revised evaluation criteria based on their input, the board will vote on using new measures.
Interestingly, Lopano declined the board's offer of a $50,000 raise in October 2011, saying it was inappropriate in the bad economy, but said he would be open to adding incentives to his contract. He accepted the board's $50,000 raise in January 2012 and another $15,000 raise in October 2012, along with the $15,750 raise Thursday.
Lopano's title was changed from airport director to CEO as he took the job to reflect the board's interest in regional business dynamics.
"I'm tickled with the board's response," said Joe Kager of the POE Group Inc. in Lithia who the Tribune contacted for comment on the issue.
"When we think of the pay for performance philosophy, there is a direct link to usually variable rewards and achievement of goals," he said. "Executive pay arrangements should emphasize pay at risk, tying a variable incentive or bonus to desired business outcomes."
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