Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Thursday signed legislation that enables the city to move forward with a major reshuffling of restaurant and retail operators at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in coming months.



The city now will enter into contracts with companies selected to operate 150 spaces throughout the world’s busiest airport, including the new international terminal set to open in the spring.



Reed also released the names of the city employees who evaluated proposals for the lucrative concessions contracts — a step he said was unprecedented and showed his commitment to transparency in the procurement process.



Both the signing and the disclosure of the city evaluators’ identities came two days after the City Council passed the contractor selections in two parts, each on 12-3 votes.



The mayor had said last summer he would make public the names of the city evaluators “within weeks,” but decided to wait until after the selection. That drew criticism from Common Cause Georgia, which has questioned the way the concessions selection process was handled.



Previously, the city’s lawyers turned down The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s request for the evaluators’ names under Georgia’s open records law.



“I directed my administration to run an open, ethical and fair concessions procurement process for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the new Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal,” Reed said in a prepared statement.



Reed said Atlanta has never released the names of airport evaluation committee members before, during or after a procurement process. The city conducted background checks on panel members to look for possible conflicts of interest.



The volunteer evaluators work for the city’s aviation department and were selected by airport general manager Louis Miller, general manager. City officials say evaluators spent more than 2,300 hours sifting through more than 100 proposals. Staffers from the city’s departments of procurement, finance and contract compliance also pored over different parts of the proposals.



The airport concessions contracts cover 150 retail, bar and restaurant locations around Hartsfield-Jackson, with estimated gross sales of nearly $350 million per year. It is one of the largest procurements in the country.



Some of the chosen contractors already operate at Hartsfield-Jackson, while others are new. The new contracts will also bring locally known brands such as The Varsity and Shane’s Rib Shack to the airport under licensing deals between those restaurants and the operators.

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