The Latest Stack o' Council Memos: No-Bid Contracts, Policing the Protesters and More Retiring City Employees

Categories: News
vonciel_hill.jpeg
Brian Harkin
In May, Vonciel Hill voted to keep concessions at Love Field in the hands of one company, whose CEO contributed to her campaign.
Every so often I like to post the pack of memos Frank Librio sends to council and media at the end of every week; below are the ones that went out late Friday. And it so happens that the very first item is covered in a story by Rudy Bush posted to The News's Web site about an hour ago in which Mayor Tom Leppert hisself wonders why the city's doling out no-bid contracts to political contributors -- and politicians -- at Love Field Airport, which is set to undergo an extreme makeover.

We've covered this before
: In May of last year, Sam covered a council Transportation and Environment Committee meeting during which Vonciel Hill slammed shut the door on re-opening bids for concession contracts at the airport. Hill and other council members wanted to keep things as they were -- under the control of Gilbert Aranza, till recently director of the Dallas Citizens Council and a contributor to several council members' campaigns.

Aranza owns Star Concessions and Dallas Love Field Joint Venture, and per the council's memo and the addendum to the agenda for this week's council meeting, Aranza will control 100 percent of the food and beverage concession at the expanded airport -- though he is bringing in new partners, among then Daron Pace (a McDonald's franchisee and a Dwaine Caraway supporter) and Charles Bush (who has contributed to Steve Salazar's campaign). The contracts, of course, are worth many millions. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and state Rep. Helen Giddings have a significant stake in Hudson Retail, which is also having its contracts (worth more than $2 million) renewed without the city looking for outside competitors. The mayor tells Rudy, well, jeez, it just looks so bad: "We have responsibilities to ensure people have confidence in what we are doing."

Also contained in the memo: First Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans sends word that the May 1 immigration-reform MegaMarch Domingo Garcia's planning downtown will be well-attended by law-enforcement (at least 200 Dallas police officers, not to mention constables, sheriff's deputies and DART cops). Writes Evans, "The issue of immigration reform is a politically polarizing topic and can elicit strong emotional response from supporters and opponents." I've said it before: You cannot slip anything past Ryan Evans.

Also, former librarian and current City Manager Mary Suhm sends word that Laurie Evans, director of the Dallas Public Libraries System, is retiring effective June 2. Evans oversaw the opening of a few branches during her tenure, none more high-profile than Bookmarks at NorthPark Center, which was her brainchild. Suhm also makes it official: As we've already told you, WRR's general manager, Greg Davis, has also retired. Replacing him, temporarily, will be David Fisher, assistant director of the Office of Cultural Affairs.

Between Evans and Davis, that's $257,000 in salary right there. Memos 4-23-2010
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