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    DOT final report: MWAA has been unaccountable, discreditable

    Despite efforts taken by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in recent months to clean up its act, the authority must implement additional policies to fully address management weaknesses, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation-conducted audit released Thursday.

    The much-awaited final report concluded the authority’s “contracting policies and practices are insufficient to ensure compliance with the Airports Act and the lease agreement between the DOT and MWAA.”

    The 50-page audit, signed off on by Calvin L. Scovel III, inspector general for the DOT, took issue with ineffective contract management and oversight, and a lack of adequate procurement integrity policies to ensure impartiality when awarding and administering contracts. Moreover, the account states MWAA’s human resources practices lack oversight and accountability, resulting in employees being hired and paid without job descriptions, competition, pay setting reviews, or completed background checks.

    “MWAA’s code of ethics for its employees and its related policies and procedures have lacked the rigor needed to ensure credibility and the integrity of management and employee decisions. For example, some MWAA employees regularly accepted inappropriate, high-dollar gifts from an MWAA contractor,” the report notes.

    The airports authority oversees Dulles International and Reagan National airports and the Dulles Toll Road, and is charged with overseeing the $5.5 billion Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, which will extend Metro’s Silver Lines to the Dulles airport and into Loudoun County. Along with Loudoun and Fairfax counties and the commonwealth of Virginia, MWAA is funding partner in Dulles rail.

    Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican who has pushed for MWAA reform, quickly released a statement on the report, saying the concerns he’s expressed over the past two years are, unfortunately, “validated” by the findings.

    “The final report title says it all: ‘MWAA’s weak policies and procedures have lead to questionable procurement practices, management and a lack of overall accountability,’” McDonnell states.

    For those following the authority in recent months, the report comes as no surprise. An interim draft of the report, released in May, gave the public a glimpse of what to expect from the completed version.

    A summary of the interim report indicated ‘that MWAA’s accountability to Congress, stakeholders, and the public―as well as its compliance with the Act―has been limited by weaknesses in its internal policies and oversight of these policies.

    “In particular, MWAA’s policies and procedures related to financial disclosures, travel, and transparency are insufficient to ensure fiduciary and ethical responsibility in the Board’s expenses and activities. MWAA’s contracting policies and practices are similarly insufficient to ensure compliance with the Act’s provisions and its internal procurement procedures, resulting in contracts that are not subject to full and open competition and may not represent best value,” states the interim report.

    In September, MWAA adopted a new travel policy for board members and continued constructing a new ethics policy. Last month, McDonnell announced the appointment of five new Virginia members to the board. Three have been seated, and the remaining two will join the board in November.

    MWAA officials are holding a news conference Thursday afternoon at Reagan National Airport to address the report.

    The report concludes that as an “independent public body subject to few federal and state laws, MWAA must rely on the strength of its policies and processes to ensure credibility in its management of two of the nation’s largest airports and a multibillion-dollar public transit construction project.”


    Read the full Nov. 1 report here: http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/MWAA%20Final%20Report.pdf

    Comments

    Kaine gave the Dulles toll road to MWAA to pay for metro silver line. I don’t understand why metro doesn’t up it’s cost to pay at least 25-30% since it benefits their riders? MWAA is very corrupt and can’t be trusted. They’re right up there with every politician.


    The Silver Line should be renamed the Gold Line.


    Actually ol sparky I was giving credit to Obama and his people for not paying for this overpriced debacle and whats his name brought the next Presidents name into the conversation so I took upon myself to retort in kind.


    Well well, look at what’s on page 14 ( page 15 of the pdf).

    “Over the past 8 years, MWAA awarded more than 80 percent of work under three groups of multiple-award contracts to a single contractor (“Contractor A” in table 2). However, the contractor’s rates were often higher than the other multiple-award contractors’ rates. For example, the contractor’s rates in a 2012 contract were between 28 percent and 234 percent higher. While MWAA may have had non-price related reasons for selecting Contractor A, this unbalanced distribution of work to a single contractor with significantly higher rates appears contrary to the purpose of multiple-award contracts and could further compromise MWAA’s competitive environment.” And from further down that page: “In addition, MWAA allowed Contractor A to add job categories to a contract but did not offer the other multiple-award contractors the same opportunity. Thus, when MWAA ordered work related to those additional job categories, they were effectively sole source awards because only one contractor was able to accept the work.”

    WHEN will the news media and our so-called ‘leaders’ start talking about the double price of the Dulles Rail project (also known as the Silver Line)? The job cost 2.2 times what it should have cost. Do a web search on ’ Excessive Pricing Dulles Rail Silver line Metrorail Project ’ and read the report.


    Don’t know if it’s Obama-like, but I do know it’s Orange-like to somehow mention Obama in something he has nothing to do with.


    @frankie
    The toll road was a government entity until the mwaa came along. it was acquired from Kaine and Virginia for our sole contribution to the silver line which sure is not the case any longer. It has been a crooked organization since at least 1993 see the McCain report 2002. It’s not un-Romney like to call into question a corrupt group running a overpriced boondoggle. Maybe it’s Obama-like to be content with status quo at any price but I doubt you would know that as the Federal government has chosen not to invest in phase 2.


    Locust - It is because they are ultimately answering to no one and they are all well connected.  You have to be well connected to even get on the board, heck it seems like the only reason most of them are on there.  Ultimately Bob McDonnell is going to be trigger shy to call these people out because they are “friends”.  They won’t leave on their own because no one can force them to. 

    This was my biggest concern with the Silver Line.  We’d be handing over our money to an organization that no one can control.  It is like hiring a contractor you can’t direct and can’t fire.  Who would do that?


    I don’t quite get how Jack Potter still has a job? Or why the Board gets blamed by Governor McDonnell for Potter’s total lack of control of his staff. All of this has happened on the watch of Chairman Curto and Vice Chair Tom Davis, yet they escape any criticism. Curto gave his wife’s firm a contract, yet he remains. Davis gave his daughter a job meant for under privileged kids yet he remains.

    This mess has all happened under the watch of Governor Bob McDonnell. He’s asserted full control over MWAA and this mess continues on his watch and he issues press releases that doesn’t call for Davis, Curto and Potter to resign?


    And here we have it, “insufficient to ensure compliance with the Airports Act and THE LEASE AGREEMENT [emphasis mine] between the DOT and MWAA.”

    Virginia now has legal recourse to invalidate the lease agreeement and take the DTR back.

    Bye-bye MWAA.


    The report says it was the MWAA staff that spent 220 million in no bid contracts without Board approval.  It was also the staff that took expensive gifts from a contractor.  It was the CEO who gave a contract for $180,000 to a former Board member without Board approval.  It appears blame falls on the CEO and if you want to fix MWAA you have to start at the top.  Why are the elected officials not calling for his resignation?


    Exactly Troy:  the all-Republican board can be “thanked” in a few years, when the dust settles, and poof, the raising of taxes to pay for this white elephant.


    @ Oranges
    Wait, what? You want the state government to take over the toll road, currently controlled by private enterprise? How very un-Romney of you :)


    Well I am glad we have Supervisors with the foresight to keep us from getting involved with these people. 

    Oh wait, we are handing them millions of dollars we don’t have instead.  Who can I talk to about one of those jobs with no job description?


    correct you are!


    It’s time to take our toll road back from this corrupt MWAA organization. Replacing board members won’t solve the problem, they are still unaccountable and waste our tolls on their overpriced projects. Sing the petition urging Gov. McDonnell and the legislature to take our road back and cut tolls! www.noTOLLincrease.org

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