Incoming airport manager: Contracting must be transparent
ATLANTA (AP) – The incoming general manager of the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta says the process of awarding contracts must be as transparent as possible.
John Selden made the comments about the city-run airport amid an ongoing investigation at Atlanta City Hall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. A federal probe has reached into airport contracting, including a 2016 subpoena seeking documents related to construction and concessions contracts at Atlanta’s airport.
Selden is a former executive of New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. His appointment as the next leader of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is to come before the Atlanta City Council on Monday.
Selden spoke recently to members of the city council’s transportation committee, which oversees the airport.
“Procurement is about integrity,” Selden said. “The process has to be pure. It has to be transparent, and it cannot be tainted.”
The transportation committee has voted unanimously in favor of confirming his appointment as general manager.
In response to a question from city council member Amir Farokhi, Selden said contracting “has to be kept at an arm’s length, and no outside influence should be involved in the procurement process.”
“If you keep your distance from the procurements, look at the facts, look at the (request for proposals). not be influenced” and pick the best company for the city, “that’s key to restoring the integrity of the process,” Selden said.
While Hartsfield-Jackson awards millions of dollars in contracts a year, airport contracting is also run through City Hall and its procurement department. The city’s former chief procurement officer, Adam Smith, was sentenced to prison earlier this year, the Atlanta newspaper reported.
Selden said his goals include ensuring that Hartsfield-Jackson remains the world’s busiest airport and maintains its efficiency, which he said translates to airline profits and more airline service in Atlanta.