MWAA board to meet Wednesday

March 19, 2013

The canopy at the Wiehle Avenue station on the Silver Line. (Nikki Kahn — The Washington Post)

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board meets Wednesday and from the looks of it, it will be a pretty full agenda. Some of the items are inside baseball. For example, a change to the board’s bylaws regarding indemnification that stems from the nasty legal battle between former board member Denny Martire, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and MWAA that resulted in legal bills of more than $2 million. Here are highlights on some issues that could prompt some interesting discussion.

The Executive and Governance Committee will discuss changes to the authority’s Freedom of Information Act procedures that will allow those who are denied access to information they’ve requested a chance to appeal to an outside party. Currently, those who want to appeal a denial of a FOI request have only one option — the chair of the board’s Legal Committee. This proposal would create a panel of outsiders — in this case, three retired judges. When a party seeks to appeal the decision of the chair of the legal committee, they along with MWAA would select one of the judges to hear the case. The judge’s decision in the matter would be final. If the committee supports the change, it would go to the full board for approval.

The board is still dealing with issues stemming from the federal inspector general’s report that came out in November and found numerous issues ranging from contracting irregularities to nepotism to vague travel and entertainment policies. As part of that, the Executive and Governance Committee also will review a new business expense policy directive. The Business Administration Committee during its meeting will discuss and likely vote on a recommendation to approve the fourth edition of the MWAA contracting manual — another issue raised in the inspector general’s report.

Also on tap will be the monthly update on the Silver Line rail project, which is set to be completed by the end of this year.

The committee meetings are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and will start after the board’s closed session scheduled for 8 a.m. is done. The final committee meeting is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. — so it could be a long day even if the board manages to stay on schedule, which it rarely does.  And a reminder — I’ll be live tweeting the highlights.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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