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"The People behind the Hartsfield Contracts"
Friday, January 6, 2012
The People behind the Airport Contracts
WABE 90.1 FM, National Public Radio (NPR), Atlanta (GA)
ATLANTA, GA - Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Thursday night released the names of
airport employees picked to evaluate the companies approved for airport
concessions contracts on Tuesday. Today, the airport's general manager
described the selection process and rejected notions any evaluators had a
conflict of interest.
Louis Miller is the general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
International Airport. Miller says he and senior staff members picked 15
airport employees. The departments the evaluators work in include
concessions, planning, maintenance and operations.
"We had people from various aspects within the organization who understand
the airport business and what it is," said Miller. "Therefore, they can be
best ones to complete the collaboration evaluation process."
After they were selected, the city's law department conducted background
checks to determine if any evaluators had conflicts of interest that should
keep them from participation. Miller says all employees, including Patricia
Armes has been account manager for the airport's concessions department for
more than 6 years. For almost 8 years before that, she was the manager in a
concessions department for CA One Services. During that time, CA One
Services was under a contract to manage concessions companies at Atlanta's
airport. A Delaware North spokeswoman says none of those concessionaires
were Delaware North companies.
Since then, the company changed its name to Delaware North Companies Travel
Hospitality Services. DNCTHS was one of the companies the City Council
approved for airport contracts Tuesday night. Despite her ties to a winning
bidder, Miller says Armes' past did not present a conflict.
"Actually, it strengthens that person's background," said Miller.
Miller argues Armes' experience helps her understand Delaware North's
business plan and the concessions business overall.
"When they come to us, they've given up loyalty to their previous employers
and their now working for the department of aviation and their serving our
best interest," said Miller.
Miller says there would have been a conflict of interest if an evaluator
currently owned a concession company. The evaluators were broken up into 3
teams. By deadline, neither Miller nor his staff could confirm if Patricia
Armes' team evaluated Delaware North's bid.
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