Loudoun resident Dennis Martire will have his day in court as Gov. Bob McDonnell seeks to remove him from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Lorraine Nordlund ruled late last week.
According to Nordlund’s clerk, the judge denied MWAA’s request for a summary decision, which would’ve quickly determined whether Martire or Caren Merrick, McDonnell’s new appointee, would remain on MWAA’s board.
Now, the issue will go to court. A date hasn’t been set.
On June 18, MWAA filed a lawsuit in the Fairfax County Circuit Court to “resolve competing claims” of Martire and Merrick to the MWAA board.
“The Airports Authority believes it is necessary for the claims to be reviewed and decided, based on applicable law, by a court,” read a statement from MWAA. “The Airports Authority will immediately comply with whatever decision the Circuit Court reaches on these competing claims to the Board position.”
If the removal of Martire is upheld, Loudoun County will be without a representative on the authority’s board.
Martire, vice-president and regional manager for Laborers International Union’s Mid-Atlantic region, has been the target of criticism in recent months. An interim federal audit of the MWAA board’s practices in May revealed he spent $9,000-plus for a trip to Prague for a conference.
In a letter last month to McDonnell’s chief of staff, Martire said he “never violated any rules,” and his behavior “was consistent with that of other Board and staff members.”
“I do not believe that there is cause for my removal from the Board, and I ask that the Governor reconsider his course of action,” Martire said. “The Governor and I disagree on labor issues, but political disagreement is not sufficient cause for removal.”
MWAA, an independent public body corporate and politic, continues to be closely watched by anti-union observers. The authority is charged with overseeing the $5.6 billion Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.
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