19:29 PM

Statement from MIA Director Lester Sola regarding airport baggage handling system agreement

I appreciate and welcome the report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regarding the baggage handling system operation and maintenance (O&M) agreement at Miami International Airport. The OIG’s investigation into the selection process for this contract - which started in 2012 and was completed in 2015 - brings to light deficiencies discovered at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. Since my appointment as Aviation Director in 2018, a top-to-bottom assessment of our procurement processes has been performed, and stringent policies and procedures have been instituted. Ethics training is underway for all employees, as well as selection committee training for supervisory-level employees.

We have taken aggressive action in direct response to these findings. Specifically, we terminated the contract of the consultant involved. We have also decided to not extend the O&M agreement and have begun developing a new solicitation for a new contract. Moving forward, no selection committee panel will include contractors or consultants as voting members, and all recommended selection committees must be reviewed by senior staff before being approved by the County’s Internal Services Department (ISD).

As the former Director of ISD, which included the County’s centralized procurement division, and as a 27-year veteran of Miami-Dade County government, I will ensure that under my leadership, MDAD will uphold the highest ethical standards and provide a fair and competitive process for all procurements.

Miami International Airport offers more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other U.S. airport, is America’s third-busiest airport for international passengers, boasts a lineup of more than 100 air carriers and is the top U.S. airport for international freight. MIA, along with its general aviation airports, is also the leading economic engine for Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida, generating business revenue of $30.9 billion annually and welcoming nearly 60 percent of all international visitors to Florida. MIA’s vision is to grow from a recognized hemispheric hub to a global airport of choice that offers customers a world-class experience and an expanded route network with direct passenger and cargo access to all world regions. MIA is committed to sustainable practices. Learn more at  www.MIAefficiency.com. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, transportation and more, visit www.miami-airport.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.