Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05/30/12
Today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Barr wrote a column arguing that the city’s management of the opening of the international terminal left a “black eye” on the city, but the central point of his argument is completely wrong. He failed to fact check the column’s main point. He writes:
"Specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration has put Atlanta on notice that the city's determination that at least four businesses winning concessions bids qualified as "disadvantaged business enterprises" under federal law, was flawed."
The City of Atlanta made no such determination. No one in the city made that decision. In fact, it would not be legal for the city to do so. The federal government's designee, in this case the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), certified the four firms in question as federal Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE). The city cannot and did not make that designation.
The AJC itself has reported the facts around those businesses. In an article first published on April 26, 2012, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi wrote:
"The city did not certify the firms as disadvantaged businesses because the Georgia Department of Transportation and MARTA handle certification for the federal program. The city said it does not have the authority to certify or independently assess the certification. The FAA sent memos on the issue to the airport and Atlanta's chief procurement officer. It also sent memos to MARTA and GDOT because they certified the firms. GDOT said it is reviewing the FAA's letter and its disadvantaged business files and will then respond to the FAA. MARTA did not respond to a request for comment."
Mr. Barr’s assertion that the city has “thumbed its nose at federal regulators” is also wholly erroneous. In fact, the city has done just the opposite. The FAA offered the city technical assistance, which we willingly accepted. Aviation General Manager Louis Miller has been in regular communication with FAA officials. The four firms maintain their ACDBE certification from GDOT.
Mr. Barr was irresponsible in failing to spend enough time to get a basic understanding of the facts and how federal, state and local regulations work.
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