(1) There is created and established a body politic and corporate, an agency of the state, to be known as the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority.
(2) The governing board of the authority shall consist of 13 voting members appointed no later than 45 days after the creation of the authority.
(a) The secretary of the department shall appoint two advisors to the board who must be the district secretary for each of the department districts within the designated area of the authority.
(b) The 13 voting members of the board shall be as follows:
1. The county commissions of Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties shall each appoint one county commissioner to the board. Members appointed under this subparagraph shall serve 2-year terms with not more than three consecutive terms being served by any person. If a member under this subparagraph leaves elected office, a vacancy exists on the board to be filled as provided in this subparagraph within 90 days.
2. Two members of the board shall be the mayor of the largest municipality within the service area of each of the following independent transit agencies or their legislatively created successor agencies: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. The largest municipality is that municipality with the largest population as determined by the most recent United States Decennial Census.
3. The following independent transit agencies or their legislatively created successor agencies shall each appoint from the membership of their governing bodies one member to the board: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. Each member appointed under this subparagraph shall serve a 2-year term with not more than three consecutive terms being served by any person. If a member no longer meets the transit authority’s criteria for appointment, a vacancy exists on the board, which must be filled as provided in this subparagraph within 90 days.
4. The Governor shall appoint to the board four members from the regional business community, each of whom must reside in one of the counties governed by the authority and may not be an elected official. Of the members initially appointed under this subparagraph, one shall serve a 1-year term, two shall serve 2-year terms, and one shall serve a term as the initial chair as provided in subsection (5). Thereafter, a member appointed under this subparagraph shall serve a 2-year term with not more than three consecutive terms being served by any person.
Appointments may be staggered to avoid mass turnover at the end of any 2-year or 4-year period. A vacancy during a term shall be filled within 90 days in the same manner as the original appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(3) The members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled to receive from the authority reimbursement for travel expenses and per diem actually incurred in connection with the business of the authority as provided in s. 112.061. (4) Members of the board shall comply with the applicable financial disclosure requirements of ss. 112.3145, 112.3148, and 112.3149.
(5) The Governor shall appoint one of the four members appointed under subparagraph (2)(b)4. as the initial chair of the board immediately upon their appointment. The initial chair shall serve a minimum term of 2 years. The board shall elect a vice chair and secretary-treasurer from among its members who shall serve a minimum term of 1 year and shall establish the duties and powers of those positions during its inaugural meeting. During its inaugural meeting, the board shall also establish its rules of conduct and meeting procedures.
(6) At the end of the initial chair’s term, the board shall elect a chair from among the members. The chair shall hold office at the will of the board. In that election, the board shall also elect a vice chair and secretary-treasurer.
(7) The first meeting of the authority shall be held no later than 60 days after the creation of the authority.
(8) Seven members of the board shall constitute a quorum, and the vote of seven members is necessary for any action to be taken by the authority. The authority may meet upon the constitution of a quorum. A vacancy does not impair the right of a quorum of the board to exercise all rights and the ability to perform all duties of the authority.
(9) Beginning July 1, 2017, the board must evaluate the abolishment, continuance, modification, or establishment of the following committees:
(a) Planning committee.
(b) Policy committee.
(c) Finance committee.
(d) Citizens advisory committee.
(e) Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority Metropolitan Planning Organization Chairs Coordinating Committee.
(f) Transit management committee.
(g) Technical advisory committee.
The board must submit its recommendations for abolishment, continuance, modification, or establishment of the committees to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives before the beginning of the 2018 Regular Session.
(10) The authority may employ an executive director, an executive secretary, its own legal counsel and legal staff, technical experts, engineers, and such employees, permanent or temporary, as it may require. The authority shall determine the qualifications and fix the compensation of such persons, firms, or corporations and may employ a fiscal agent or agents; however, the authority shall solicit sealed proposals from at least three persons, firms, or corporations for the performance of any services as fiscal agents. The authority may, except for duties specified in chapter 120, delegate its power to one or more of its agents or employees to carry out the purposes of this part, subject always to the supervision and control of the authority.
(11) Persons appointed to a committee shall serve without compensation but may be entitled to per diem or travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.