This statement was released by Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook after Atlanta City Council approved new concession contracts for Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
By Howard Shook
After an intensive nine-hour public grilling of city officials, I joined a 12-3 council majority in support of the proposed airport vending contracts. The scrutiny was warranted, given the dollars involved, the campaign contributions made to the mayor by various venders, and well-remembered corruption that occurred during the 1990s.
History and insinuations aside, no one has alleged any specific wrongdoing. Questions asked by skeptical council members produced no smoking guns.
John Miller, a principal author of the highly-respected “The Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments,” testified that he had conducted an independent audit of the process and found it well-constructed and executed without any indications of malfeasance.
I certainly can’t blame Atlantans for being wary regarding airport procurements, but I don’t have the luxury of accepting cynicism as a substitute for evidence, especially when thwarting the contract awards without any legal basis would create several important problems, including:
• The sooner the mayor signs the award legislation, the sooner injured bidders can avail themselves of their right to appeal;
• I don’t believe politicians lacking any facts to do so should in effect usurp the authority properly owned by the appeals process;
• A delay could push back the opening of the new terminal, which could deprive the airport of millions needed in part to pay off the bonds that funded the project;
• The contracts of existing vendors would go on even though expired—a situation that a former mayor was rightly condemned for.
As the only member of council who voted against the infamous Airport Indoor Advertising contract, I have no problems voting “no” on a bad deal.
All I need is some evidence.
Howard Shook represents Buckhead’s District 7 on the Atlanta City Council.