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