City Hall Wants to Make It Very Clear: We Don't Need No Lousy Bids at Love Field

Still haven't heard from City Attorney Tom Perkins concerning the legal above-boardness of those no-bid concession contracts at Love Field Airport, which the council will vote on tomorrow. But outta nowhere a a little while ago, yet another e-mail popped up in the in-box from Dallas City Hall spokesman Frank Librio, who offers yet another reason why the city didn't need to seek bids for the airport, which is set to undergo expansion.

This is what Librio offers this go-round:

In a concession contract, the City does not "make or lose" money. Rather, it may make more or less money over time, depending on the success of the concessionaire. In the concession contracts before the City Council on Wednesday, the City is additionally protected by the requirement for the concessionaires to pay a minimum annual guarantee (MAG) regardless of concessionaire's performance in a given year. So, while the City has the option of using a bid or RFP process, it is not required and there will be times that staff concludes that either it would be difficult to determine the amount of money that may be made during a contractual period (e.g., when demand may be dramatically impacted by an ongoing construction project) or that other factors are important (e.g., past experience with a concessionaire).
Meanwhile, Rudy Bush has posted a letter from Bob Montgomery, vice president for properties at Southwest Airlines, in which he asks Mayor Tom Leppert and City Manager Mary Suhm to defer tomorrow's vote. In his letter, sent today, Montgomery writes that while Southwest -- the majorest of major stakeholders at Love -- doesn't have a rooting interest in any one particular concessions provider, "We do favor a process resulting in the best value, product delivery and customer service at Love Field." He can't understand why the council's trying to tie up Dallas Love Field Joint Venture and Hudson now (without seeking one single other bidder!) when the first phase of the build-out won't be done for three years -- and when the contracts are good for 20.

Update at 4:54 p.m.: I never noticed the Dallas Morning News, Star Telegram and Dallas Observer logos on the conceptual rendering's newsstand wall till just now. Excellent.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky