ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration on Thursday released the names of the city employees who served on the airport concessions evaluation committees, marking a first in the City of Atlanta’s history.
“I directed my administration to run an open, ethical and fair concessions procurement process for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the new Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “The release of the names of the evaluation committee members is one of several steps we took over the past year to move the city toward greater transparency around the city’s procurement process.”
The City of Atlanta has never released the names of airport evaluation committee members before, during or after a procurement process. The Reed administration also conducted background checks on the members of the concessions evaluation panel to rule out conflicts of interest or other issues, another first in the airport’s history. The evaluators work for the Department of Aviation and were selected by Aviation General Manager Louis Miller. They were chosen because of their expertise and experience. The panelists were:
§ Patricia Armes – Concessions Accounting Manager
§ Paul Brown – Concessions Director
§ Shelley Lamar – Planning Manager
§ Paul Michael Leaf Jr. - Principal Architect
§ Robert Lewis III - Concessions Compliance Manager
§ William Murphy – Land & Property Utilization Manager
§ Robert Palmer – Director of Maintenance
§ Willie Self – Senior Audit Manager
§ David Sellers – Director of Properties
§ Douglas Strachan – Creative Innovations Manager
§ Hugh Jason Terreri – Airport Contract Administrator
§ David Vogt – Art Program Manager
§ Harland Chris Warner – Operations Manager
§ Chiquetta West – Management Analyst
§ Demetria Wideman – Concession Marketing Manager
Mayor Reed has been criticized for what some called the lack of transparency in the bidding process. The mayor addressed his critics by saying his administration took additional unprecedented steps to increase transparency at the airport, including:
Ø Hiring the aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport by appointing a panel of nine well-respected business leaders, led by Home Depot Chief Financial Officer Carol Tomé, to review and recommend candidates for the position. This process was a first for the city.
Ø Disclosing the airport’s financials to its airline tenants, most notably Delta Air Lines, for the first time ever. This resulted in a $30 million contribution to the city’s bond financing efforts for the completion of the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.
Ø Hosting a full day pre-proposal conference to provide information about the RFP process with the public and making the RFP documents available to the public. More than 500 people attended the event, at which city and airport officials from various departments discussed the program’s goals, structure and timeline.
Ø Returning contributions to Mayor Reed from airport vendors made during the procurement process from March 21 to June 30, 2011.
Ø Refusing to accept contributions to Mayor Reed from airport vendors while the procurement was in progress.
The Atlanta City Council voted 12-3 on Tuesday in favor of the Department of Aviation’s recommendations for contracts for 126 food and beverage locations and 24 retail locations at the airport and the new international terminal. Mayor Reed signed the legislation early Thursday. The new concessions contracts will generate $51 million in annual revenues, an increase of more than $23 million, and will ensure that the 90 million travelers who pass through the airport each year have world-class food, beverage and retail options.
Among the large food and beverage packages, 10 of the 17 recommended sub-concessionaires are new. Many of the new restaurants are among Atlanta’s most famous eateries, including The Varsity, Shane’s Rib Shack, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, Chicken N Beer (owned by Chris Ludacris Bridges and The Pecan. Some of the recommended retail locations include familiar and new high-end shops, such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Omega, Bulgari, Swarovski and Tommy Hilfiger.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the single largest employer in the state with 58,000 direct employees, generates an annual economic impact on the metropolitan Atlanta area of $32.6 billion.