Atlanta City Council votes to put controversial airport shuttle contract on hold

An Atlanta City Council committee voted Wednesday to put a lucrative airport shuttle contract on hold after getting pushback from several community members and small business owners.

Many speakers at the transportation committee meeting accused the city of not following its own rules when they awarded the multi-million dollar shuttle contract to a New York-based company that already operates in dozens of airports across the country.

"I work in 15 different states in the U.S., and today I refuse to do business with the city of Atlanta," business owner Sheila Jordan said.

RELATED: Atlanta City Council revisits airport shuttle contract; Who should get the bid?

Jordan was one of many speakers who opposed the city's decision to grant the airport shuttle contract to ABM, instead of a small and local business enterprise like A-National that currently holds the contract.

"It is because your procurement is broken. It is because your payment and contracting structure is broken," she continued.

The shuttle contract for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is up in the air as the City Council agrees to revisit who should take it over.

Attorney Kevin Ross represents A-National Limousine Service, a company owned by Atlanta-based contractor Darrell Anderson.

Though Anderson currently has the shuttle terminal contract, the city opted out of renewing it before rebidding the contract four different times.

"You can't change scoring methodology in the midst of procurement. That is simple a no-no, that not legal. It is unfair to the process, unfair to everyone involved," attorney Kevin Ross told council.

Attorney Steve Labovitz, who is a veteran city Hall insider, said he was not familiar with the details of this deal, but said he was scratching his head when looking from the outside.

"Do the right thing. This should not stand," Labovitz concluded.

One speaker said the city's decision to award the contract to ABM violates the foundation the late Mayor Maynard Jackson laid for minority and small business at the airport, which has now become a national model.

"Maynard chained himself at the airport and demanded small and minority participation, and the airport today is spitting on that legacy and playing politics" consultant Duwon Robinson commented.

Mayor Andre Dickens administration recommended the contract be put on hold and the committee passed that vote unanimously. 

Anderson's extended contract expired December 31, 2023.

ABM-All N One Security Services sent FOX 5 this statement on Thursday which reads:

"The City of Atlanta needs a quality-oriented, terminal shuttle service program that will meet the evolving needs of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and the guest experience it provides as one of the world’s busiest airports.

"Our joint venture bid, ABM-All N One Security Services, was recommended for this engagement because of our unmatched expertise, ABM Aviation’s deep roots as an Atlanta-based employer to more than 4,100 people regionally, and our 30 years of existing experience as a trusted partner to the City of Atlanta, Department of Aviation, and ATL. In addition, All N One has been an Atlanta-based business for over 20 years. ABM-All N One Security Services will both exceed the City of Atlanta’s expectations for client service and reliability, and fulfill its requirements for involvement of a small business, as together with our partners, more than 35% of the joint venture’s commitment will be performed by local, Atlanta-based Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE).

"ABM-All N One Security Services stands behind its proposal and all of the commitments made to the Atlanta City Council, and together we are ready to put our solutions to work for ATL."