Death and Scandal Put Increased Focus on Tampa Bay Boards
Recent turnover and turmoil in the Tampa Bay area have limited the number of people that control the boards of two of the most powerful business organizations. Fewer than a dozen members of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and Tampa Port Authority oversee $228 million in annual revenue, and recent shakeups are a reminder of the weighty role played by these panels.
The positions on each board are appointed by the governor and usually share the governor's political party. Florida's governor makes approximately 3,000 appointments to roughly 750 boards and commissions. Former Gov. Bob Martinez says that governors rely on executive staff and agency staff to sort through applications of individuals to appoint.
"You vet as best as you can, but you don't investigate people," said Mr. Martinez. " There's a limit to what you can do without being invasive. You don't use law enforcement to track people down. If there's no blemish publicly, you are not going to know it."