Piccolo staying as SRQ head — at least for now

SARASOTA — Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport’s chief executive is staying put, for now.

Fredrick “Rick” Piccolo told Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority members today that he has not been offered the chief executive officer post at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport nor has he decided whether to take the job if it is offered.

Piccolo is among five finalists for the position, which prompted the authority to hold the emergency meeting today at the request of board member Paul Sharff.

Sharff, a frequent critic of Piccolo’s travel expenses and compensation, repeatedly grilled Piccolo about the Cincinnati opening and his intentions. Sharff also asked the board’s attorney how many votes it would take to fire Piccolo, but did not seek Piccolo’s ouster because he did not have enough votes.

In a bid to keep Piccolo from leaving, authority member Bob Waechter suggested amending Piccolo’s employment contract to double his severance pay to 12 months if he is fired and adding an automatic renewal clause when the contract expires. But other board members either opposed the idea or were non-committal about pursuing it.