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(L to R) Johan Deleew, director, Fred Rich, Treasurer, Jeff Greene, President, Chad Casey, Secretary, Carol Cockcroft, director, and Dennis DeLoatch, Vice President, are the first slate of leaders for the newly formed Greater Atlanta Limousine Association, which will be working on regional and state issues on behalf of limousine operators throughout Georgia. Photo taken at Atlanta City Hall, April 2012. Not pictured: Kirkley Hennessy, director. Photo taken at Atlanta City Hall.
A new industry association started only six months ago already represents the operators who run most of the licensed limousine fleet vehicles in the state of Georgia.
The Greater Atlanta Limousine Association is filling its agenda with a range of regional and state regulatory and legislative goals as it received official recognition from the National Limousine Association in May.
GALA was formed by a group of key Atlanta limousine operators, led by its first President, Jeff Greene, a 2012-15 NLA board director and 2007-08 NLA President. A longtime, active industry leader, Greene also co-chairs the NLA Liaison Committee, which connects various state and local associations nationwide to the NLA.
GALA formed as a breakaway group from the Georgia Limousine Association over what Greene sums up as differences in management approaches. But GALA will not be limited to just city of Atlanta matters. “What’s good for companies in Atlanta is good for companies throughout the state of Georgia,” said Greene, a former board member of the GLA. “We want to make sure every company in Georgia, regardless of size, can compete on the same level with the same opportunities as any other legal company.”
Regional, state challenges
GALA already has become active on numerous matters affecting operators:
- In April, GALA leaders met with Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean to review and recommend improvements to the RFP process at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport for curbside ground transportation services. GALA has retained a law firm to help it advance reformed procedures and more transparency. Greene anticipates follow up meetings as the city evaluates the RFP process. “We want it to be fair and avoid conflicts of interest,” he said.
- Greene serves as the liaison between the state limousine industry and the Georgia Dept. of Public Safety, which on July 1 took over the regulation and licensing of limousine companies and motor carriers throughout the state from the Georgia Public Service Commission. A captain from the department’s Motor Carrier Division spoke to GALA on June 13 about procedural changes operators can expect from the department.
- GALA representatives are meeting with officials from the Atlanta airport to discuss some problems following the opening of the new International Terminal on May 12, such as picking up passengers, AVI transponder exits and parking procedures for chauffeured vehicles.
- Association leaders have scheduled a meeting with a high-ranking state legislator to discuss the possible introduction of a legislative measure that would repeal the state’s 8% sales tax on limousine service, vehicles and parts. That tax unduly burdens operators and their clients. At Greene’s company, for example, the state collects about $28,000 to $35,000 per month depending on the revenue volume from its 55-vehicle fleet. “The sales tax is significant,” Greene says. “I’d rather not charge 8% and give my customers the discount. It’s good for the consumer."