The Tampa Port Authority’s recent ranking of bidders for a contract to provide private security services certainly rankled one member of the port’s governing board. That’s Gladstone Cooper, the board’s only black member. He objected to the minority-owned Sykes Security being ranked 10th out of 11 companies that submitted bids.
I don’t claim to know how valid his complaint is. I do know this. There is no more viable terrorism target in this whole Tampa Bay region than the Port of Tampa, one of the biggest in the country. One that is awash in tanker traffic.
If there is one sector that must never be compromised by either cronyism or tokenism, it’s security — in all its forms — at the Port of Tampa. Cooper may be an irritant in the bid process, but security may be better served by a resident gadfly.