The Tampa Port Authority's governing board unanimously voted, 7-0, to offer Jacksonville Port Authority CEO Paul Anderson the job to lead its port within minutes of calling a special board meeting Tuesday.
"Board members had opportunities to meet one-on-one with the three candidates during the weekend and we decided that Paul was the best of the best," said William "Hoe" Brown, chairman of the Tampa port authority board.
"All the candidates had the ability to run the port, but Paul stood out because of his diverse experience with the public and private sectors, and this experience has helped him to develop a large network of contacts in the industry and throughout government," said Brown.
The Tampa port board began its search for a new CEO in August after it learned that its director/CEO Richard Wainio would leave Sept. 7.
Wainio was hired in 2005 to lead the Tampa port. His annual salary was about $250,000, which is $70,000 below Anderson's current salary of $320,000.
Jacksonville port authority board Chairman Jim Citrano issued a statement Tuesday about the port's future.
"I am proud to say that the port's service to our customers, employees and constituents will remain in the able hands of our Executive Vice President Roy Schleicher, Chief Operating Officer Chris Kauffmann and Chief Financial Officer Mike Poole," Citrano stated. "Please join me in thanking Paul for his many contributions to our community and our region during the past two years."
"I am committed to leading the board in selecting a new CEO that is an individual of extraordinary qualifications, prepared to meet the challenges of an industry that is changing faster than ever," Citrano stated.
He also said in the message that the process for the selection will evolve during the upcoming weeks and will be publicly discussed by the board.
He has already begun to inquire through the City's Office of General Counsel about how to proceed if Anderson does leave for Tampa.
"We are trying to find out how we proceed. Can we use the information from the search we conducted two years ago? We are trying to find answers to questions like that," said Citrano, during a Tuesday interview.
Using the information from the last search, if allowed, could be problematic because only Citrano, Joe York and Reginald Gaffney — who voted during the last selection process that brought Anderson to Jacksonville — remain on the board.
Citrano also said that he is not looking forward to the estimated $200,000 another CEO search may cost.
Anderson was not available for comment.
Brown was given the authority to negotiate a contract with Anderson at the Tampa Port special board meeting Tuesday.