Bob Hope parking change may slash jobs

The Bob Hope Airport Authority voted unanimously to go with a new parking contractor, agreeing with a staff report stating Standard Parking would provide better service, but the decision may reduce staffing levels.

Airport staff pointed out at an authority meeting Monday that the current contractor, Central Parking, has kept its staffing levels constant — and even increased slightly — while the number of passengers using parking services has dwindled.

Central has been locked in a contentious battle for the contract since August, questioning budget figures in a proposal drafted by its main competitor – Standard.

Parking revenue is the largest non-airline funding source for the airport, generating $19.8 million last fiscal year, according to Tom Janowitz, manager of landside operations at the airport.

Arguing to keep the contract, Stephen McCormick, Central’s vice president of its airport division, said his company has come in under budget every year for the past decade.

He also raised concerns that Standard would reduce the number of full-time employees to save money, particularly on benefits.

Clint Joy, vice president and regional manager for Standard Parking, countered that Standard has agreed to stick to the existing contract with Teamsters Local 911 to maintain benefits for existing full-time employees and that those employees can stay with their current health-care provider.

However, McCormick pointed to Standard’s proposed budget, which has allocated about $575,000 annually for health benefits, while the actual cost has grown to about $900,000 a year.

Joy acknowledged Standard “undervalued” that line item in the budget and can correct it, if needed.

McCormick also pointed out that Central has budgeted 7,753 employee hours a week, while Standard has allocated only 7,430 hours.

McCormick said the only way to drop employee hours by that much is to cut full-time staffing.

Joy said the reduction in hours would be the result of centralized administrative duties, not in front-line employees.

The new contract with Standard runs for about 2 1/2 years, with two one-year extensions possible. The authority can cancel the contract at any time with a 120-day notice.

If Standard stays through the two extensions, its total budget would be almost $32 million, according to a staff report, much lower than the $39 million that Central projected.

McCormick said Standard’s management fee is higher than the fee in Central’s proposal. Standard’s fee would be $975,125 over the life of the contract, while Central would charge only $632,393.

“Why would you choose a company that has a fee [that is] $340,000 more than the company that has been providing you with superior service all these years?” McCormick asked.

Airport staff didn’t look at management fees when making its recommendation, Janowitz said. It looked at overall customer service and knowledge of management personnel. Standard operates parking and shuttle services at 60 airports across the country, Joy said. Locally, it provides parking services at the Americana at Brand and the Grove.

Airport staff also looked at other services Standard brings to the table, Janowitz said, such as a GPS bus tracking system at no cost to the airport, an electronic vehicle inspection system and incentives for employees to be punctual, well-groomed and courteous.

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