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Mayor Kasim Reed Expresses Confidence in Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Management

Post Date:06/08/2011
Says airport concessions procurement process will be fair, honest, ethical and transparent; 
Announces airport will release names of concessions proposal evaluation panel 

Thế giới cáMayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday expressed confidence in Aviation General Manager Louis Miller and reiterated his pledge to ensure that the airport concessions procurement underway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is conducted in a fair, honest, ethical and transparent manner. Mayor Reed outlined several steps being taken to achieve that goal, including the release of the names of the airport concessions evaluation panel members in a few weeks.

“I am aware there have been concerns about procurement practices at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the past,” Mayor Reed said. “Under the capable leadership of new Aviation General Manager Louis Miller and new Concessions Director Paul Brown, we are working hard to make sure that the airport concessions procurement process runs smoothly and fairly. My administration has taken unprecedented steps at the airport over the past 18 months and should be judged by our record so far.”

In April, Hartsfield-Jackson issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for its new concessions, which will include retail concessions on Concourse E and in the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, and food and beverage concessions on concourses T, A, B, C and D and in the atrium and the international terminal.

The current concessions bids, for a total of 27 retail locations and 125 food and beverage locations, represent one of the largest procurements in North American airport history. The airport held a pre-proposal conference at the Georgia International Convention Center on April 5 and site tours on April 6 for prospective concessionaires.

Hartsfield-Jackson has adopted several policies to ensure the appropriate mix of concessionaires and to prevent one or two major players from dominating the airport’s concessions. Specifically, the following measures have been implemented:

  • The names of the evaluation members, once finalized, will be released to the public.
  • All potential evaluation panel members have agreed to stringent ethics and disclosure requirements.
  • Concessionaire selections will be made by multiple different panels to maximize expertise and fairness.
  • The qualifications standards for the proponents have been augmented to include additional non-airport experience to provide a more level playing field and expand opportunities for new and small companies.
  • The airport has hired an independent consulting firm to help train the proposal evaluation panel members.
  • No one vendor can win more than three of the 12 concession packages available. 
  • The requests for proposals can be located on the City of Atlanta’s website.
In addition to the proactive steps around the airport concessions procurement process, Mayor Reed has taken other steps to improve transparency at Hartsfield-Jackson. Shortly after his inauguration in January 2010, Mayor Reed directed his administration to issue a new request for proposals for the airport bond underwriters to eliminate any hint of controversy for the issuance of $1.6 billion in bonds. His decision effectively started the process from scratch to ensure there would be no questions or concerns about the integrity of the process.

Mayor Reed then managed the most open and competitive process ever for selecting Miller as the new Aviation General Manager. The search process began when Mayor Reed asked Carol Tomé, Chief Financial Officer of Home Depot Inc., to lead an independent committee and partner with Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, to identify and vet qualified candidates from across the nation.

Ms. Tomé presented Mayor Reed with the names of five recommended candidates in early August. After receiving the search committee’s recommendations, Mayor Reed and Peter Aman, Chief Operating Officer of the City of Atlanta, interviewed each of the five candidates and selected three finalists before selecting Miller.

The nine-member search committee led by Tomé included Darryl Harmon of Wells Fargo; retired Coca-Cola Co. executive Carl Ware; Ben Myers of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Carter USA President Scott Taylor; William Clement of Atlanta Life Financial Group; John Spiegel, formerly of SunTrust Bank; Taylor Glover of Turner Enterprises; and Turner Broadcasting Vice-President Loretta Walker.

Last fall, the Reed administration opened up the airport’s financial data, which caused Delta Air Lines to invest an additional $30 million in the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal. And recently under the leadership of our City Attorney Cathy Hampton, the city brought the Corey advertising contract litigation to a close after nearly a decade of legal wrangling.

“The fact of the matter is that Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest passenger airport and the economic engine of metropolitan Atlanta,” Mayor Reed said. “Those who continue to bring up references to corruption and cronyism should have the character and integrity to back up their allegations, or refrain from smearing the reputations of the dedicated employees who manage and work at what is arguably the most successful airport in the nation. It’s time to stop resurrecting the past and instead, focus on the present and the future.”

Mayor Reed also addressed Common Cause Georgia’s call for pay-to-play reform, saying the City of Atlanta has enacted ethics legislation that is as strong or stronger than any major government in the state of Georgia.

“As a state lawmaker for 11 years, I supported every ethics reform bill that came before me,” Mayor Reed said. “However, without campaign contributions, candidates who are not wealthy would never be able to spend the time required to meet voters, communicate their ideas or develop their platforms. They would have to focus solely on raising money, which I believe would put them at a fundamental disadvantage and severely limit the pool of qualified candidates for office at the expense of voters.”

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