Airports chairman to review board travel policies

The chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Monday that he plans to review the board of directors travel reporting “policies and procedures” after a look at records from the first half of this year revealed sloppy paperwork and other mistakes.

The authority oversees Reagan National and Dulles International airports, plus the construction of the $6 billion Dulles Metrorail project . It has come under increased scrutiny about whether it is transparent enough from Virginia lawmakers who are pushing for more representation on its board.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general is auditing the authority after a request from lawmakers.

The travel records for the 13 board members showed they spent about $96,000, or about 37 percent of its annual travel budget, in the first two quarters of this year.

It also revealed that one board member — Dennis Martire — had been overpaid by $1,150 for a trip to an aviation-related conference in Italy. The mistake happened because of a clerical error, airport authority officials said, and once it was discovered, Martire paid the money back.

The travel records also showed that $3,450 was paid for nonrefundable room deposits after three board members canceled plans to attend a conference in Hawaii.

In an e-mailed statement, Charles Snelling — the chairman of the board — wrote, “The Airports Authority is sincerely committed to controlling costs, maintaining accurate records and fully complying with all legal and regulatory requirements.”

Snelling said the three federal members, which include him, Robert Brown, who chairs the finance committee, and William Cobey are required to travel from their homes outside the D.C. area for board and committee meetings. Snelling lives in Pennsylvania, Brown lives in Ohio and Cobey lives in North Carolina.

“I believe our current system for managing and reporting Board travel is strong, but I am open to changes that will further improve the process,” Snelling wrote. “We will review all of our current travel reporting policies and procedures. If we identify any changes that need to be made, we will act accordingly.”

Follow me on Twitter @postmetrogirl.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.

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