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Hayward Taps New Airport Vendor


Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward Tuesday vetoed an extension of the current food and beverage lease agreement at Pensacola International Airport. 

Hayward plans to award the ten-year contract to Missouri-based OHM, which represents Chick-fil-A, Corona Beach House, Surf City Squeeze and Einstein Brothers Bagels. It takes effect when the Varona’s Restaurant contract expires at the end of this month.

In a written statement, Hayward says both City Attorney Jim Messer and a Tallahassee-based law firm contend the City Council did not have the authority to decide the issue.  He had recommended OHM during a Council meeting in January, and was turned down by the Council.

OHM won out over New York-based Creative Food Group, whose Pensacola Brands featured local eateries The Fish House, Bagelhead’s and Varona’s. Airport Director Greg Donovan told the City Council last September, that despite a great deal of the discussion, this is a “bottom line” business decision.

Maria Patel, a vice president with OHM, told the Council that if they received the contract they could hit the ground running.

It’s unclear if the City Council can override the Mayor’s veto. City Attorney Jim Messer’s take is that Hayward has the sole power to award the contract. The Council is expected to discuss the veto at Monday’s agenda conference.