More transparency needed in Atlanta airport bidding

This is simply unacceptable for a city that just had to settle a $3.9 million lawsuit stemming from airport contracting procedures that a federal jury determined to have been illegal and discriminatory. From David Pendered at Saporta Report:

Atlanta has decided not to identify the persons who will serve on the selection team that will recommend which companies should be awarded a concesssions contract at the airport.

Paul Brown, the airport’s concessions director, said the names of “experienced airport managers” who are chosen to serve on the selection committee — and even the number who serve on the committee — will remain confidential until after their work is done.

The selection team will review proposals from companies that want a piece of the lucrative food and beverage concession business at the airport. The selection team will recommend which companies should win a contract that will last at least a decade.

“I’m not at liberty to say,” was about all that Brown said he could say about the selection team.

Hollie Manheimer, executive director of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, said the city cannot withhold the identifying information.

“There is nothing in the open records law that would shield the release of the identity of a public agency committee’s members,” Manheimer wrote in an email.

“Both the open records and meetings laws have favor narrow exceptions to the rule of openness, and any exemption generally turns on a narrow issue of privacy, IE, something like a social security number,” Manheimer wrote.

Atlanta must go out of its way to be above board on airport contracts, because it cannot afford another lawsuit alleging cronyism in the bidding process. If Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will not see that the members of the committee are identified, this may be a case for Attorney General Sam Olens, who as a candidate pledged to crack down on violations of Georgia’s sunshine laws.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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28 comments Add your comment

Your kidding right

May 25th, 2011
6:32 am

Anything you can think involving the airport in Atlanta can be considered “cloudy”. It is the hub of dirty politics in this state, It is also the biggest trough that our piggy politicians feed from. And we keep putting the same fat, sloppy politicians in office and control. One stupid vote, shame on them, two stupid votes, then shame on the stupid voter.

Name

May 25th, 2011
7:02 am

We need to start construction on a new international terminal! Although the new one isn’t completed yet, shouldn’t we already be thinking about breaking ground on the 3rd one?!?!?!

Where is the all-knowing genius Ben DeCosta??

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

May 25th, 2011
7:50 am

Reed was elected to protect te interest of the Jackson Political Machine, that is what he will do. 1,000,000,000,000 to 1 odds that the Jackson Family will keep all their airport concessions. As usual the taxpayer gets screwed. Keep up the good work little Maynard.

Don't Tread

May 25th, 2011
7:58 am

Did we expect anything less from the City of Atlanta?? It’s as corrupt as the federal government, if not more so.

USMC

May 25th, 2011
8:05 am

Typical Corrupt Racial Politics from the City of Atlanta; it started with Maynard Jackson and has continued through Shirley Franklin.

It all has to do with color; BLACK and GREEN

Gator Joe

May 25th, 2011
10:09 am

Kyle,
I don’t condone illegality, but why are you, the Right Wingers, and assorted bigots (you’re not included here), so indignant about all this? “Corrupt Racial Politics” was much worse when Atlanta, indeed the country, was white- controlled. Ah, but the predictable response from you and those listed above, “That was in the past, and should be forgotten.” You have no credibility on this. Jim Crow white politicians wrote the book on white, no-bid contract cronyism.

Screwy Louie

May 25th, 2011
10:34 am

Well Joe, could it be because it looks like something illegal, or at least unethical, is afoot? And Joe, when throwing the race card, the oldest and cheapest trick in the deck, would it be too much to ask that you back up your claims in a way other than lazily spewing horse excrement?

Screwy Louie

May 25th, 2011
10:37 am

Hollie is 100% correct. I have worked with her several times in the past and she knows her field of expertise as well as I know my mother’s name.

Pizzaman

May 25th, 2011
10:44 am

Looks as if the ATL government took a lesson from Bush/Cheney and all those secret, non-bid contracts let for the Iraq war!

Kyle Wingfield

May 25th, 2011
10:47 am

Gator Joe: I didn’t bring race into this story; you did. Corruption is corruption. I was born in 1978, so if you’re saying I can’t comment on corruption now if I didn’t comment on it then, well, I guess I’ll never have any credibility in your eyes.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

May 25th, 2011
11:06 am

Gator Joe

May 25th, 2011
10:09 am

You obviously are refering to Sam Massel, he wasn’t even in the same league as the the Jackson Family & friends. Mayors Hartsfield and Allen were honest men who ran a clean government.

Screwy Louie

May 25th, 2011
11:14 am

@Pizzaman

May 25th, 2011
10:44 am
Looks as if the ATL government took a lesson from Bush/Cheney and all those secret, non-bid contracts let for the Iraq war!

No Dominoe-I think they are following the lead of “Our Most Transparent Leader”.

Cutty

May 25th, 2011
11:32 am

Since republicans in the GA legislature file legislation to takeover the airport on a nearly annual basis, lets turn it over to them. I’m sure they would clean up the corruption. They already have Delta medallions and all.

LukasAtl

May 25th, 2011
12:42 pm

This actually makes some sense. If the bidders do not know who is on the committed, the bidders would not be able to contact them and attempt to influence the decision …

Jamie B

May 25th, 2011
12:46 pm

Pizzaman

May 25th, 2011
10:44 am
Looks as if the ATL government took a lesson from Bush/Cheney and all those secret, non-bid contracts let for the Iraq war

Can you name “all those” secret, non-bid contracts let for the Iraq war?

Mike

May 25th, 2011
1:20 pm

Lukas’ comment made sense at first, until I realized – if the bidder finds out who it is, but the public doesn’t know, how do we know they’re not being bribed?

I worked for a company that was directly involved with the pre-Olympics airport renovations. It was a circus, and Bill Campbell was the ringmaster.

Greg

May 25th, 2011
2:00 pm

Corruption knows no color or geography. I live in Gwinnett County, which is probably one of the most corrupt governments in the state of Georgia. The school board, the commission and most of the Senators from this county are thoroughly corrupt. What Atlanta needs, and certainly doesn’t have, is District Attorney who competant and not a part of the political elite. This is the check and balance that is finally starting to rein in the political elite in Gwinnett.

ViewFromMidtown

May 25th, 2011
2:45 pm

Hey Kyle, it looks like Olens is going to be too busy with his newfound McCarthy-esque crusade to root out all the communists at GSU to worry about ethics. Of course, if ol’ Sam really did want to clean ethics up, he needs to start with the Deal administration and the Republican leadership in the legislature.

TruthBe

May 25th, 2011
2:46 pm

More transparency is needed in ALL Atlanta City Government. The entire city is and has been ran by racist career corrupt Democrat African Americans for almost 40 years now. How about that “No Bid” Mayor we had in Maynard Jackson. Remember when Mayor Jackson got “No Bid Contracts” for his own companies because the City of Atlanta said it wasn’t necessary because of his experence. What a crook in Jackson. And the City named the Airport for him aswell and the new terminal. The only reason Hartsfield name is still on it is because his family made some noise about it. You know someone else did the hard work and this group of black thrug politicians names it after themselves. Jackson did nothing to bring the Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport here period. As Mayor Reeds said Atlanta is a “Black City”. Yes! Black and Corrupt.

joe

May 25th, 2011
2:51 pm

They are all corrupt, so those saying one side is clean while the other is dirty are ignorant…or stupid. The closest thing we have to a political branch who will stop politics as usual are the Tea Party candidates…who just happen to be fiscal conservatives. Those on the left have no fiscal conservatives that I’m aware of, who advocate cutting spending of any kind. Until the left comes up with their own variety of non-politickers-as-usual, you have no business saying anything about the tea party.

TruthBe

May 25th, 2011
3:00 pm

ViewFromMidtown, When we need a homosexual’s opinion we ask for it. Go drink somemore of your obamajuice. This is mans talk.

GT

May 25th, 2011
3:19 pm

Comical ,this would make the reality shows on television sound like elevator music. There must be an atmosphere in City Hall that tells these people, “fear not”. I am sure a law suit has no effect it is not their money. The rich guy on West Paces Ferry can pick up that bill, might be kind of fun sticking it to them. Nobody owns property in the city anymore they just rent it from the city or the county. At the discretion of a group of disinterested politicians property taxes can be raised never lowered, any hour and day, taxation without representation. And what they do with the money is more comedy. Look at the budget and then look at the holes in the streets, world class stupidity in the classroom, jails overrun, it would be a real challenge to find one thing this group of people do that is not in the bottom 5% of the country outside steal money. Then we have to pay for people like Campbell to be locked up after they have stolen our money. Mayor Reed says consultants aren’t representative of 10-county area. Tell you what Reed, you give up that airport job you’re pulling and make a transportation authority for that 10 county area, put the airport in it like MARTA, and I bet you would find more interest in them letting you spread your sticky fingers out in the suburbs. It ain’t the stealing that is bothering them out in the country it is the stealing without sharing that tears em up.

MiltonMan

May 25th, 2011
3:40 pm

Atlanta – full of racist clowns. On the airport: Atlanta politicinas always tell us to keep our stinking hands & the state out of their beloved boondoggle. When Atlanta politicans start talking about MARTA & Grady: We need more money. The counties like Cobb& Gwinnett need to pay more money. Now we have the clown mayor raising cain that whites are the only ones on the commission for the upcoming regional transportation tax

GT

May 25th, 2011
4:08 pm

The only money maker owned by local government is the airport. It was design by a far different crowd than the ones that run it now, and the people who pay the money that come from it are far different from the ones that collect it. The way you straighten the airport situation out is to move it. That simple, to maybe Harris County or any rural area. Set the rules of running it to match the times and make the purpose to attract customers not steal money. Most of the people come through Atlanta to transfer flights and never see outside the building anyway. These poor people from around the world shell out large bucks for horrible food so the Campbells of the world can take his girlfriends to Las Vegas. Maybe move it north and south to two rural areas. Make it a ward of the state not the city of Atlanta. Transfer flights go south, origination flights come to a smaller airport north. It may be the last time many of us go to the south side, these trolls under our bridge will have to figure out a new game to force traffic over their bridge.

TruthBe

May 25th, 2011
5:02 pm

GT you’re the man. Run for office at once. You got my vote. Tell it how it is.

Native Atlantan

May 25th, 2011
5:16 pm

Wow..must be a record. We’ve managed to slam blacks and gays in a blog about the airport. Impressive…..

TruthBe

May 25th, 2011
5:39 pm

Native Atlantan, look around and smell the flowers. Black Corrupt Politicians have ran Atlanta for years and years. They have stoled the city blind.They are thugs. Midtown tried to be stupid that’s why the wise crack remark. Lighten up Native.

Native Atlantan

May 25th, 2011
5:44 pm

And before that it was the white man with his exclusionary tactics. I agree the city sucks, just don’t see it as a black or white issue. But I see Gwinnett County has been a stellar example of how the white man leads. Give me a break…..