Hartsfield-Jackson manager pledges to hold fair contracting process


Hartsfield-Jackson International general manager John Selden said the city is "committed to a fair and transparent contract process" as it prepares to rebid contracts for new airport shops and restaurants.

“We are committed, from Mayor Bottoms through the cabinet, through my team,” Selden said. “I cannot stress this enough.”

Selden's comments at the airport's Concessions RFP Industry Day on Tuesday come as a federal bribery investigation into City Hall continues, and come after the sentencing last year of the city's former chief procurement officer Adam Smith in the corruption probe and a conflict of interest investigation.

Last week, longtime city contractor Jeff Jafari was charged in a federal indictment that accused him of bribery, money laundering, tax evasion and tampering with a witness. Jafari in 2017 had shown interest in the airport concessions contracts, attending a meeting for prospective bidders and asking questions of city officials.

The airport is holding the Industry Day Tuesday for companies interested in concessions contracts at the airport.

Selden said the airport plans this spring and summer to put out for bid about a dozen contracts for airport shops and restaurants.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said late last year that she planned to rebid airport concessions contracts in 2019, starting over on the procurement process.

The contracting process for airport shops, initially started in 2017, has been on hold for more than a year because of the federal corruption investigation into Atlanta City Hall.

Bottoms said she wanted to address questions about the integrity of the city’s procurement process before the city took action on contracts worth millions of dollars in revenue.

The city has been working on reforms in contracting, including the recent launch of an e-procurement process and an independent procurement review office.

On Tuesday, as the airport prepares for rebidding, Selden told concessionaires interested in the contracts that it's a day "I've been waiting for since my first day here. I know there's a lot of you out here today that have been waiting a lot longer."
Selden took the helm of the airport last year, when the contracting for new airport shops and restaurants had already been on hold for months.

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