Port Manatee Authority OKs contract for new executive director

MANATEE — The Manatee County Port Authority today unanimously OK’d a contract officially hiring as its new executive director Carlos Buqueras.

Buqueras, 57, director of business development at Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, was chosen from a pool of more than 80 applicants.

Even authority member Joe McClash voted in favor of Buqueras’ contract after several disputes with his fellow board members, who are also county commissioners, over terms of the contract.

“I’m honored by the confidence of the board, and the full board’s support,” Buqueras said after the vote at Port Manatee.

“I plan to come on board with all engines running,” he said.

Buqueras allowed amendments to his contract, even though it had already been formally approved by the authority, to ensure that there would be a united board from the start.

He is set to officially take over after the holidays.

He will replace David McDonald, who is slated to retire Jan. 31.

“I think the board made a very good selection with Mr. Buqueras,” said McDonald today. “I think he’s going to bring what the port needs.”