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Power struggle continues over who will run the airport food services
PENSACOLA -- Who will run the food service at Pensacola International Airport?
The Pensacola City Council has been trying to decide that since September.
Last night, the council voted to extend the contract for Robert De Varona's contract.
This goes against the mayor's wishes to grant a multi-million dollar contract to a Missouri based vendor who won a bid to serve food and drinks at Pensacola Airport.
"The Pensacola City Council and the Mayor's Office still don't see eye to eye when it comes to the airport concession contract"
In a proverbial power struggle between the Pensacola City Council and Mayor Ashton Hayward...
Pensacola airport's concession contract hangs in the balance.
The city has already put out a bid for food vendors to compete for the contract.
OHM Foods won that bid beating out current concessionaire Robert De Varona.
Ashton Hayward - Pensacola Mayor
"OHM won the bid, now the council has put us and the city in a position where they now threatened to sue the city of Pensacola because they can't make a decision"
Hayward says he wants to honor the bidding process.
He fears the council's decision making puts the city in legal jeopardy.
"Then the council gets a second opinion from an attorney outside of Pensacola, and they say they don't have the authority to extend the contract"
But several council members feel differently.
"This is the one option the council had to take and we took it"
Instead of offering OHM Foods the concession contract.
The council extended the current one in place, which belongs to Varona.
Council Member Megan Pratt believes the vendor doesn't have to be local.
But it must represent Pensacola well to travelers at the airport.
Megan Pratt - Councilwoman
"We really think one of the key values for the airport is to highlight the local area and make this a unique destination for whatever we do"
Mayor Hayward has the option to veto the council's decision to extend the current concession contract.
The mayor expects to make a decision whether or not to veto, by next week.
"The existing concessions contract at the airport expires at the end of the month.