A concessions contract for the largest revenue producer for Atlanta’s airport is up for grabs even as the city auditor has just delivered a critical report on the effectiveness of the current management firm and its city contract.
The parking contract for Atlanta’s airport represents ¼ of the airport’s annual revenue. Parking fees alone bring in $117 million in revenue for fiscal year 2013, according to city Auditor Leslie Ward.
Parking is big business all across the country. The company that now handles the parking decks at Atlanta’s airport, SP Plus Corp., is based in Chicago, has more than 25,000 employees, and manages parking at facilities in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, according to the annual report it filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
Atlanta taxpayers have paid more than $44 million over a 45-month period for a worker’s compensation program that is significantly more generous than those of other state and local governments, according to a city audit.
The cost per worker is 58 percent higher than the national average. The number of claims filed by city employees also exceeds the national average for local governments – by 2.5 times, the audit shows.
The situation results from a system that puts claims administration ahead of risk management, according to the audit. For example, Atlanta does not address safety practices with new employees, though it does inform them of how to submit claims and what benefits to expect.
Atlanta city departments have spent at least $128,000 on gift cards for city employees to boost their morale, and record keeping was so lax that there’s no way to tell if there were any wrongdoing, according to a new audit by the city auditor.
The audit – to be presented formally on Tuesday to the Atlanta City Council – makes two recommendations to get a handle on the situation. The responsible parties agree with the recommendations: The COO and commissioner of human resources in one instance; and the COO and chief procurement officer in the other.
The gift card program was intended to raise morale among city employees during an era when they had gone for years without raises, according to comments by city COO Duriya Farooqui that were posted on myfoxatlanta.com in October.