Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Councilman seeks answers on Los Angeles International Airport contracts, consultants

Los Angeles World Airports is a bit of an enigma. It’s a department of the city Los Angeles, so it must answer to the City Council and follow most municipal rules. But it’s also entirely financially self-sufficient, receiving no money from the city’s general fund.

It is against this backdrop that new Councilman Mike Bonin is seeking to hold airport officials accountable. In light of a recent Los Angeles News Group report highlighting the airport operator’s reliance on outside consultants rather than city employees to manage construction at Los Angeles International Airport, Bonin moved to ask airport executives to explain their rationale. They will appear Tuesday morning before the three-member Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee.

“There’s the argument that has been made that to have a world-class airport you have to have world-class consultants,” said Bonin, whose 11th District includes LAX. “That may be the case. But I don’t think you need to start from that premise. I think you have to start from the premise that we need to be as prudent and tight-fisted as we can be.”

Tuesday’s story detailed construction management consultants who receive perks such as free rent, furniture allowances and complimentary cars — in addition to hourly rates greater than $300. The consultants manage projects like the nearly $2 billion international terminal, the first phase of which should be completed later this summer. Valeria C. Velasco, a member of the airport commission, said this week that she had not known the extent of the consultant reimbursement program, saying no one told her the airport was paying for apartments.

Read more here:   http://www.dailybreeze.com