A new – and many hope improved – board of directors for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is taking shape.
Controversial board member and Ashburn resident Dennis Martire has agreed to step down following an ousting from Gov. Bob McDonnell, and his governor-appointed replacement Eileen McConnell will claim her seat at the Oct. 17 board meeting. Additionally, the District of Columbia recently agreed to a new board composition that gives Virginia two more members, while both the District and Maryland each will gain one.
McDonnell has announced Fairfax businesswoman Caren Merrick and Ashburn resident Lynn Chapman, a technology and engineering expert, will round out Virginia’s seats on the board.
“To fill these seats, I have appointed some exemplary Virginians, whose wealth of experience and knowledge will be of great service to the board of directors,” McDonnell stated in an Oct. 12 letter to MWAA board Chairman Michael Curto.
McConnell is a former member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, while Merrick is a prominent Northern Virginia businesswoman who ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2011 for the Virginia state Senate.
The Republican governor also executed two appointments for seats coming up for another term in November. He reappointed Frank Connor to a second term, as well as tapped Anthony Griffin, a former Fairfax County executive, to the other open seat.
In a separate letter to Curto on Oct. 9, McDonnell highlighted progress made by MWAA and its member governments over the past year, including dropping the overall price of Phase Two for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project by scrapping plans for an underground station, eliminating the union-friendly project labor agreement policy estimated to drive up cost and revising various contracting, travel and ethics policies within the board.
The governor goes on to urge the board to continue to “evaluate the bond financing of the current projects to see if better deals can be reached to drive down debt service costs,” and to “continue to evaluate the scope and expense of Phase Two to further drive down operating costs.”
MWAA has battled criticism for much of 2012. A U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General report released in the spring showed the authority had a severe lack of structure in its contracting and bidding processes, as well as lax protocol when it came to board members traveling on MWAA’s dime.
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